11/11/2014 - Microwaves, Science and Lies
A provocative documentary entitled "Ondes, Science et Manigances" (Microwaves, Science and Lies) has recently been produced, challenging alleged corruption in the World Health Organisation. It criticises their stance and official literature on the potential health risks of mobile phones and radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, particularly Factsheet No. 193. The video, researched by Nancy Meritens, directed by Jean Hèches and supported by SkyVision Solutions, can be rented from Vimeo in English for just five US dollars, and includes a number of interviews with leading scientists and others involved in EMF research.
The underlying message of the video is that WHO are not reflecting the current position of the science. For example, they refer only to mobile phones in their factsheet, which is disingenuous to the considerable amount of research on other radio-frequency (RF) sources that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) collated when producing their 2011 monograph.
Furthermore, they strongly downplay the evidence on mobile phones and cancer by using the spin word "established", as reflected in their statement "To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use" in factsheet No.193. Not only is the scientific benchmark for "established" very high (and considerably higher than the threshold used to set other safety standards such as food additives in processed meals), but it also presents a picture that is at odds with the latest 2011 IARC 2b classification of RF fields. According to Dr Robert Baan, the officer responsible for IARC's monograph 102 on RF fields, the factsheet wording could easily be misinterpreted as a stamp of safety for mobile communication technology. He has raised this issue with WHO and suggested an alternative wording, but no response or alterations have been forthcoming.
Another interesting issue raised by the video is that the authorship of WHO factsheets is very unclear. Whilst engineer Emilie van Deventer admits being in charge of the contents of factsheet 193 and consulting other experts to approve its content before publication, she would not name those experts, describing the document as "a corporate view". This is an issue that requires attention as the factsheet is cited by the industry globally as a rubber stamp of safety, and knowing the factsheet's authorship is a critical part of maintaining the credibility and transparency of their review process.
IARC produced their full Monograph in 2013. An electronic copy of the 430-page document is freely available (see links at bottom of this page). The basis for IARC designation of RF as a Class 2B carcinogen is summed up in one sentence: "Positive associations have been observed between exposure to radiofrequency radiation from wireless phones and glioma and acoustic neuroma" (p.421). Those associations with brain tumors and tumors of the acoustic nerve were observed by the Interphone study group and Lennart Hardell's team in Sweden. The panel's decision was close to unanimous.
Edited 26/02/2015; IARC 2011 not 2013; Alhbom and Schütz detail changes.
» World Health Organisation
» WHO Factsheet No. 193
» International Agency for Research on Cancer
» Volume 102 - IARC Monographs
» Sky Vision Solutions
» Review by SmartGridAwareness.org, including 7 minute introductory video
» Official video trailer and rental link