20/12/2004 - Russian Microwave Hazards Conference
Written by Don Maisch, a highly respected Australian researcher who attended the conference.
In late September I attended the International Conference: Mobile Communications and Health: Medical, Biological and Social Problems, Sept 20 - 22, 2004, Moscow, Russia.
After that meeting I compiled my notes into an informal report on the proceedings, dated October 10, 2004. This report has since been updated to include my concerns over what has been reported in the final conference statement, received on December 10 from a member of the Russian scientific community.
All viewpoints presented at the conference that departed from the WHO / ICNIRP paradigm have been 'sanitized' out of the final statement but I suppose that the Russians and their WHO/ICNIRP counterparts had to spent long hours hammering out a compromise statement. A pity that the Russians didn't use a bigger hammer (and perhaps a sharp sickle) but perhaps this sanitation is just an example of what happens with harmonization.
Such distortion is not science but spin doctoring at its worst. If anything, the final conference statement is more akin to Orwell's "Newspeak" than anything you could remotely call science. This is a trend that unfortunately seems to have become 'science' in Western RF standard setting.
On September 22, the final day of the conference, Yuri Grigoriev, the Russian conference chairman as well as chairman of the RNCNIRP, stated the firm view that the conference committee organizers would draft a final conference statement that specifically addressed the Russian concerns on potential hazards to children from their mobile phone use. This concern was expressed at the conference by representatives from three out of the four conference organizers. These were:
- The Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (RNCNIRP).
- The Russian Academy of Science.
- The Russian Academy of Medical Science.
(Note: The fourth organizer, who did not share the other's concerns was the World Health Organisation (WHO), represented by Dr. Michael Repacholi)
Yuri Grigoriev, was very insistent on the importance of getting out at the conclusion of the conference a statement on children and mobile phone use. On October 2nd I sent an e-mail to Eugenia Bichelday, the conference secretary, asking if a statement had been made "specifically about the issue of children and mobile phone use". On October 22nd she replied stating that "Yes, the statement was agreed and accepted" but that it was in Russian only. I replied with a request for the Russian version but by then she had left for other employment without managing to sending it on.
On December 10th when I received the final statement on the conference it immediately was apparent from my reading of the statement that it departed substantially from what actually transpired at the conference. It DOES NOT represent the vast difference of scientific viewpoint between "East" and "West" in regards to RF standard setting that was clearly expressed at the conference. This can be seen by comparing Section II and IV. Instead we read in the "final statement" some feel-good statements about justifying actions towards harmonization. As the WHO was one of the conference organizers it may be surmised that they had a hand in the editing of the final version that is also posted on the WHO website.
The overall structure and wording of the final conference statement (page 18-19) is very similar to PR statements previously produced by the WHO / ICNIRP and in my opinion mainly represents the viewpoints expressed by these organisations, not what was also stated by speakers from RNCNIRP, RAS and the RAMS.
We have some cheery statements about precautionary actions that fail to include the words of ICNIRP's Paulo Vecchia at the conference when he said that "Precautionary actions constitutes a health detriment and should be prevented as other adverse effects of EMF"(page 15). SO much for precautionary actions!
Even though much of the conference was about Russian concerns over children's use of mobile phones, absolutely nothing is mentioned about this in the final statement. Yuri Grigoriev's hope for a strong statement on the children's issue with mobile phone use was entirely left out.
Contrary to what the statement claims, the Russian scientists at the conference did not agree that the so called ICNIRP "international guidelines" ensure adequate protection against all established health effects - in fact their view was just the opposite - that ICNIRP did not provide adequate health protection. This also got edited out.
The final statement boldly says: "Independent and scientifically qualified institutions should be identified and made legally responsible for providing unbiased information". This may sound good but if the omissions and un-truths in the "final statement" are examples of "unbiased information" then who can we really trust to give legally "unbiased" information? AND then what happens to all alternative scientific viewpoints deemed not to be "unbiased information"? Are they therefore illegal? Then what? - Shades of Orwell's Oceania and the thought police!
Full Article as hosted on Don Maisch's website (70.8kb)