Devra Davis: Disconnected from Science: Part II

*Update: See Michael Shermer and Bernard Leikind’s post in eSkeptic this week. They are responding to the boat-load of email they received about their articles in Scientific American and Skeptic magazine concerning the lack of evidence to cancer to cell phone use.*

On Monday, we published the first half of a critique of a new book by Dr. Devra Davis: Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide it, and How to Protect Your Family. This is the second half of the critique.

Part II: Cell Phones and Cancer

The “fine print”

Davis devotes an entire chapter to the so called “warnings” in “fine print” in the user manuals for cell phones. On P. 217 she says: “The HTC Droid Eris cell phone from Verizon contains a Product Safety and Warranty Information booklet. On page 11 it is recommended that no part of the human body be allowed to come too close to the antenna during operation of the equipment….To comply with RF exposure requirements, a minimum separation distance of 1.5 cm must be maintained between the users body and the handset”. Davis further states: “A reader might think it was just a matter of complying with a silly rule that government had produced.”

Well yes actually, such a procedure is called for in government regulations (FCC OET Bulletin 65 Supplement C, IEEE Standard 1528 and IEC 62209-1). When cell phones were first developed, they were quite bulky and could not fit into a shirt pocket. They were often carried in a holster and were always used with the phone held to the ear. The original testing standards were written at that time to reflect this. Today’s ultra slim iPhones and Blackberries can be carried in a shirt pocket – much closer to the body. They are tested and comply with SAR limits when held to the ear (or pinna in technical jargon). However, if the phone is used while near body such as in your shirt pocket, the SAR limit may be exceeded if it is closer than the required test distance of 15 to 25 mm. This is not considered to be a safety issue, since the SAR limit has a 50X safety margin (according to the new IEEE C95.1-2005). It is a technical compliance issue.

Davis implies that cell phone companies have included these “fine print” warnings as a potential defense in liability lawsuits from brain cancer patients. There is no record of this “defense” ever having been used in any of current liability suits and none of these lawsuits has yet succeeded. The separation distance is for body worn and not for the head position and therefore is irrelevant to brain cancer.

Cancer Link?

Interphone & cell phone use for 10+ years

Davis only discusses a handful of the thousands of studies that find no harm from either EMF or cell phones. She gets some critical facts about these studies completely wrong. A prime example is the claim by Davis that all studies that have looked at cell phone use for a period of more than 10 years have found an increased risk of brain cancer. P 193 “But when you look at those few studies that included people who had used phones for a decade or more, the results show that heavy cell phone use causes brain tumors. If you consider all of the studies that have been published, most of them have not followed people for a decade. But if you examine only those studies that have analyzed people for a decade or longer you find one thing: Every single one of them shows that long-term heavy use of cell phones has increased the risks of brain tumors”.

This is totally false; several important studies find no harm. All of the studies that Davis refers to are so called “case control” studies. These types of studies are considered much less reliable because they depend on memory to assess past exposure. People diagnosed with brain cancer and healthy controls respond to a questionnaire in which they are asked to remember how much they used their cell phones. Recall is known to yield different estimates than actual phone records. In addition, because people who have had cancer have heard about the potential link to cell phones, they are more likely to err by reporting higher exposure than controls. Therefore such studies are subject to a limitation called “recall bias”. Davis does not even mention this key weakness.

Most of the “10 year plus” studies that Davis refers to were the work of a single Swedish researcher, Dr. Lennart Hardell. His methods have been widely criticized. Most of the others were components of the Interphone study (* 12). Some of the individual components of Interphone were released prior to the final comprehensive report. Contrary to Davis’ claim, not all of these found increased cancer risk for 10+ years. The final conclusion of the Interphone study is important: “Overall, no increase in risk of glioma or meningioma was observed with use of mobile phones. There were suggestions of an increased risk of glioma at the highest exposure levels, but biases and error prevent a causal interpretation. The possible effects of long-term heavy use of mobile phones require further investigation.” In the text, the authors discuss the considerable evidence for recall bias that they found during the study. The overall conclusion of “no increase in risk” is the key finding.

Misstating Key Danish cell phone study

One of the most important studies on cell phones was a Danish study of 420,000 cell phone users (*13). It was a “cohort study”, not a “case control” study. Exposure was assessed based entirely on actual cell phone records. It also used actual medical records to verify the diagnosis. Such studies do not suffer from any “recall bias”. Because it is based on objective data, it carries much more weight than case control studies. While this particular study has other possible limitations, it is one of the few that is based on actual hard data.

Davis gets most of the major facts about this key study completely wrong. For example on Page 193 she says it “included only two cases that had used a phone for a decade”. The real number of users for a decade or more was 53,204 (42,549 for 10 – 14 years, 10,655 for 15 – 21) years. No increase in brain cancer or any other illness was reported for any class of cell phone users including the long term users.

On P 182 She says: “All of us have cell phone bills that provide detailed records of our use; and most of these can be accessed online. These were not used in this study, or in any study of the industry to date”. This is also false. In the U.S. this information is private and confidential and to date has not been available to interested researchers.  The Danish study used cell phone records to establish the number of years of use of a cell phone for each of the 420,000 individuals in the study. The authors obtained the approval of the required Danish government agencies such as the Danish Data Protection Board to protect the privacy of the information. The study was entirely based on record linkage.

Brain cancer trends & her “unpublished” result

Another example of a major falsehood in the book is the section she calls “My Unpublished Result”. She says: “Papers showing no increase in the overall brain cancer rate adjusted to the entire population have been published, while those taking a more sophisticated look at growing rates of brain tumors in young persons remain under review”. Davis claims she has unpublished results showing brain cancer is increasing in young adults. Technically these time trend data may have limitations. For example, in the 70’s and mid 80’s new technology led to apparent increased “rates” of brain cancer, due to better diagnostic equipment.

However, since the mid 80’s, which happens to coincide with the introduction of cell phones, overall brain cancer incidence rates have been constant. Contrary to what Davis claims, at least 4 studies (* 14, 15, 16, 17) have been published for brain cancer by age group. None shows any significant increase for any age or sex group that can be linked to cell phones. For example, another Danish study (* 17) looked at incidence rates by age group in 5 Northern European countries. No significant change in brain cancer rates were found for any age group. A recent US study came to a similar conclusion (* 15). In science, “unpublished results” rank lower that self published articles, which are at least published.

Brain cancer is one of the rarest forms of cancer. For example it ranks at #15 in Canada. There are more that 4 billion cell phones in use worldwide. The absence of any change in the incidence of brain cancer is the simplest evidence against any connection with cell phones. Davis’ mangled commentary on these brain cancer studies are the most blatant examples of the many misstatements in Disconnect. There are simply too many to cover all of them here.


Davis and other EMF alarmists are attempting to do an end run around the mainstream scientists responsible for public health standards. They even have their own self appointed organization with the impressive sounding name: International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety (ICEMS). The goal of alarmists is to scare enough members of the public about the dangers of EMF in order to sway politicians to do their bidding. Davis was one of the organizers of a conference held in Washington, DC on Sept. 15, 2009 timed to coincide with Senate hearings on cell phone safety. Such tactics have already achieved some “success” in Europe and a few other countries where politicians have ignored the advice of their own scientists to impose new restrictions on EMF.

Disconnect is a good example of the kind of material used by the EMF alarmist movement. It is highly selective and totally biased in discussing only studies that support its point of view, it rejects contrary studies accepted by the majority of mainstream scientists as the product of some vast conspiracy, and it completely misstates the findings of key studies that find no harm from cell phones. It is at odds with the conclusions of mainstream expert groups such as the SCENHIR (* 5 P 8): “It is concluded from three independent lines of evidence (epidemiological, animal and in vitro studies) that exposure to RF fields is unlikely to lead to an increase in cancer in humans”. Disconnect is designed to bamboozle and scare the lay reader, not to inform.

Author bios

Dr. Lorne Trottier. is an electronics engineer, a co-founder of Matrox a major hi-tech company. He is President of the Foundation of the Montreal Science Center, and has an honorary doctorate from McGill University. He has spent considerable time (with colleagues from McGill) putting together the web site which contains a wealth of information and credible scientific references on the issue of EMF and health. Included on the web site are references to statements from most of the world’s public health organizations attesting to the fact that there is no credible scientific evidence that EMF causes health effects. Dr. Trottier is a member of the CFI Canada board and a science adviser to the Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism (CASS) at the Centre for Inquiry Canada.

Harvey Kofsky is a Professional Engineer. He has a BaSC degree in 1966 in electrical engineering from the University of Toronto. He is an entrepreneur who has founded a number of successful electronics companies including Promatek Industries Ltd. during his career. Kofsky is passionate about ensuring that the public is given appropriate information in order to evaluate pseudo scientific media reports.


  1. WHO. Electromagnetic Fields and Public Health: Mobile Phones
  2. WHO. About Electromagnetic Fields
  3. American Cancer Society Cellular Phones
  4. Health Canada. Safety of Cell Phones and Cell Phone Towers
  5. European Commission.  Health Effects of Exposure to EMF. Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR)
  6. Statistical tools used to identify scientific misconduct in mobile phone research (REFLEX program)Alexander LerchlAdalbert FX Wilhelm
  7. Genotoxic effects of exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) in cultured mammalian cells are not independently reproducible, Speit et al. Mut Res 626:42– 47; 2007
  8. Effect of cell phone usage on semen analysis in men attending infertility clinic: an observational study, Agarwal et al. Fertil Steril 2008; 89:124-8.
  9. Whole Body Exposure of Rats to Microwaves Emitted From a Cell Phone Does Not Affect the Testes, Dasdag et al. Bioelectromagnetics 24:182^188 (2003)
  10. The Lack of Histological Changes of CDMA Cellular Phone-Based Radio Frequency on Rat Testis, Lee et al. Bioelectromagnetics 31:528^534 (2010)
  11. Comparisons of Computed Mobile Phone Induced SAR in the SAM Phantom to That in Anatomically Correct Models of the Human Head, Beard et al. IEEE Trans. Electro Comp, Vol. 48, No. 2, May 2006
  12. Interphone Study Goup: Brain tumour risk in relation to mobile telephone use: results of the INTERPHONE international case–control study. Cardis et al. International Journal of Epidemiology 2010;39:675–694
  13. Cellular Telephone Use and Cancer Risk: Update of a Nationwide Danish Cohort, Schüz et al. JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst (6 December 2006) 98 (23): 1707-1713
  14. Trends in brain cancer incidence and survival in the U.S.: Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program, 1973 to 2001, Deorah et al. Neurosurg Focus 20:1 (2006)
  15. Analysis of trends in incidence rate of brain tumors from 1992-2006 in U.S., Inskip et al. Neuro Oncol 12(11):1087 (2010)
  16. Cellular telephone use and time trends in brain tumour mortality in Switzerland from 1969 to 2002, Roosli et al. Eur J Cancer Prev. 16:77 (2007)
  17. Time Trends in Brain Tumor Incidence Rates in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, 1974–2003 J Natl Cancer Inst. 2009 Dec 16;101(24):1721-4.

76 Responses to “Devra Davis: Disconnected from Science: Part II”

  1. deever says:

    It’s hard to figure that this author is not out to “bamboozle” his unsuspecting readership, skeptos who might suspect little regarding human motivations. If some suspicion sneaks up or in, with the sweep of an adjective your arbiter of true science warns you away — “conspiratorial”. I’d probably have to wait a few days to get more at this, his two-part going at Davis; maybe Shermer will outdo him in the meantime. (On whom see eg “Cell phones, cancer, and scientific oversimplification”, ).

    Martin Blank, who has aptly commented about politician vs. active scientists in the field pronouncing on public safety, said, “physical surrogate is not a good way to measure biology”. Yet what we have are effectively dosimetric-based standards for these dangerous devices & infrastructure, rather than obviously sensible biologically-based ones, the kind of thing Trottier bizarrely claims to have debunked (see link below). Or, as you’d see if you study the history leading up to our sorry public health situation, that we rather have standards intended to not importune commercial, military & abettor interests, in the perverted world of figuring that their health has primacy over the public’s.

    But speaking of surrogates, the more I spend time among skeptos, the more evidence I see that their simplistic views of science & rationality do service as religious surrogate, in the guise of an odd dogmatism that one is sure they’d debunk among religious dogmatists. When it will be even enough to convince Trottier’s followers that a horrific error has been made regarding RF safety, will they regret having been unable to anticipate the disaster? I’m supposing not, and that would be for perceiving their most strangely narrow range of admission of evidence.

    See a couple of other instances already of Trottier’s missteps on this topic, from comments at , and .

    “Doubt is Their Product” deluxe, and Trottier & co are strangely certain…

  2. Michael5MacKay says:

    If one [i.e. Deever] wishes to take issue with this blogpost, or part one, one should provide contrary facts and rational arguments, not ad hominem attacks and word salad

    • deever says:

      here, use your fork, wait for elaboration later, in response to your soft insult (insults a telling skepto specialty):

      – Trottier not Davis looks bamboozling
      – skeptos i’ve seen so far all seem credulous about some very basic matters
      – i’m too busy just now to go at his further
      – Shermer has been capably slapped down
      – physicists and enginneers must cede to biology re public health
      – Trottier attacking Lai & Levitt is way off the mark
      – public health has been consistently put behind other interests in this field
      – skeptos seem like dogmatic religionists
      – skeptos will likely not regret their stance re RF “safety” once definitively shown wrong
      – skeptos in at least this matter stangely allow exceedingly narrow range of evidence
      – Trottier’s wrongful topical material has been spoken to elsewhere

      simple enough for you?

  3. AG says:

    I’ll be interested in reading Deever when he actually says something other than…here’s what I think, I don’t have time to explain it but if I did you’d be sure I am right……but then he never gets around to explaining it.

  4. Michael5MacKay says:

    @deever. Simple, but unsupported by any evidence/details to support his assertions still = wrong.

    I don’t think any skeptics here are dogmatic about RF safety. Their judgment on the issue of EMF safety is informed by the weight of the evidence. At this point, given the size of the increase in human-generated EMF in the microwave range over the last 25 years, if the negative effects were real, there would be reliable evidence of same by now. Instead, we have a convergence of different types of studies (epidemiological studies comparing cellphone users to controls and evidence that blinded people who claim they are Electrohypersensitive cannot detect the presence of EMF fields) and a lack of prior plausibility of harm due to the laws of physics that make it most unlikely that EMF is a serious health hazard.

    Time will invariably tell who is right and who is wrong.

    If it is definitively shown that EMF is as dangerous as Devra Davis, Rodney Palmer, and Deever say it is, I will publicly admit I am wrong.

    What evidence would satisfy Deever that microwave EMF is not harmful?

    • deever says:

      “weight of the evidence” — isn’t this the most abused term of all? When Henry Lai found that a disproportion of RF studies with industry connexion found no harm, a similar disproportion from disinterested independents finding harm, how on earth could that not set off alarm bells in a “skeptic’s” mind (on top of maybe the RF-induced tinnitus bells that even industry hacks admit as well-established)? And further when in the field of bioeffects research generally, a similar skewing seems to pertain, just what keeps a “skeptic” unskeptical of the base motivations’ affecting the research or its reporting? And when the main strength of Davis’ book, in my view, is public airing of principals’ views of the corruption, including otherwise libellous naming of villains, how could a skeptic rest content with the almost childish charge of “conspiratorial” — or rather, a patronizing approach to his readers, who are to be influenced to not look any deeper?

      “= wrong” — is this a place where logic supposedly rules? if so, you mean, not established to your taste, vs “wrong”

      “there would be reliable evidence of same by now” — well isn’t this said again & again, begging the whole issue of the reliability of the orthodox dominance in the field, such as when they attempt to trash & mischaracterize the great efforts involved in assembling the Bioinitiative report (’07 & ’09)? And so what should fairly prevail for lay people re public & environmental health, when serious aspersions are cast on critical aspects of that orthodox behaviour? At a minimum, there should be ability to opt out of what is considered a danger. But even this is not fairly available. Damage from radar was known far before your 25 years. A few quotes from Brodeur (’77):
      “That microwave radiation might have genetic effects [...] discovered in 1959 by [...] Heller [et al ...] at the
      New England [Inst. for Med. Res....] gross chromosomal abnormalities in garlic root-tips [...] irradiated with microwaves at power levels far below those necessary to produce heat. By 1963 [they] demonstrated that low-power microwave radiation could produce in mammalian cells and in insects mutations similar to those caused by gamma rays, X-rays, and [UV] rays. In [...] male fruit flies [...] low-level microwave radiation was mutagenic [...] could cause genetic damage in sperm cells [...] could be transmitted to their offspring [...] received more recognition in the Soviet Union than [US], where their data were largely dismissed or disbelieved.”
      That’s just one historical smidgeon I thought of to predate your stated period. Cf 2010 at your HESA from Panagopoulos on fruit flies, (after 0925). There are wise people who indeed see “real”"negative” effects. Here’s another one, same book:
      “[...] the government and the military have systematically suppressed information about the genetic effects [...] and covered up a number of embarrassing situations in which such effects have been observed. Perhaps the quintessential example of this policy has been the Army’s handling of the genetic problem at its huge helicopter-pilot training center at Fort Rucker, Alabama”
      There are innumerable instances! This isn’t how I wanted to get to go at Trottier’s tripe, but your prompt leads me, so so be it for now.

      “epidemiological studies” — the best show harm, a main sensible contention of Davis et al is that what is being looked for in the main (stupidly, cancer) takes too long to have shown up in the manner sought, but see already eg Hardell, and the outcry of Aussie neurosurgeons Khurana & Teo

      “Electrohypersensitive cannot detect the presence” — very great problems with such provocations, and to take an example from Trottier’s inept debunking see Levitt & Lai, where they said just who withdrew from just such studies; have you no familiarity with eg (note the title similarities, url to book), “The Man Who Was Allergic to Radio Waves” (not a great piece, but important example)

      • Art Tricque says:

        “And when the main strength of Davis’ book, in my view, is public airing of principals’ views of the corruption, including otherwise libellous naming of villains” Davis’ book is just like Deever’s comments: long on generalities, short on hard evidence. If she had had hard evidence (by definition not libelous), she would have included it. She didn’t have it, so didn’t include it, and generalities are not libelous.

      • Art Tricque says:

        The only problem that provocation studies present for the alarmist camp is that the evidence is so overwhelmingly against the hypothesis that microwaves cause Electrohypersensitive syndrome or that humans can detect microwaves. The ship has sailed on this line of study. Only “researchers” like Magda Havas feel the need to do it (badly) and then have to self-publish it even to get it into the open.

        The case given in the Popular Science article cited is clearly of someone with a deep psychological illness who needs treatment.

    • Art Tricque says:

      Michael, I note Deever did not answer your question “What evidence would satisfy Deever that microwave EMF is not harmful?” I shall entreat him to do so. However, in a number of other cases he has called things he does not want to answer silly, or laughable or the like. He still has not answered elsewhere on this site why supposedly only half the leaves on his maple were affected by EMF and not the other half. Or what other possible causes je had considered and rejected (and with what evidence) for the plant and tree distress in his garden.

      • deever says:

        “Deever’s comments: long on generalities, short on hard evidence. If she had had hard evidence (by definition not libelous), she would have included it. She didn’t have it, so didn’t include it, and generalities are not libelous.”

        While it’s you guys’ inclination to talk terms of hardness regarding evidence, it is kooky that what you have already seen (if you really looked) is thought flaccid. You have everything but pronouncements from culturally or grossly co-opted officialdoms that you for your reasons (or lack of them!) choose to respect alone. Not much I can do for you, until those types come around, which they do eventually, mostly after perpetrators have had their fill, or too much suffering to keep it buried any longer, or replacement methods/materials prevail. But something keeps me from expecting Art to get this. From lead & asbestos to thalidomide and wireless…but you “critical thinkers” keep your eyes straight ahead.

        Who knows what you would accept for hardness?
        [...]Lin, an ICNIRP member, had produced a number of papers appearing to refute Frey’s work on the ability of pulsed microwave radiation to induce sounds inn the brain. [...] Lin’s critiques ignore Frey’s primary paper [..] in Science magazine in 1979. Using holography, an exquisitely sensitive technique that does not destroy tissue, Frey found that microwave pulses do not create motion on soft tissue. Lin’s studies finding a signal on the auditory nerve resulted from an experimental artifact. The tiny electrode assembly he used to “detect sound” actually produced it. When Frey invented and patented (for the Office of Naval Research) a special, nonintrusive electrode, he was able to show that the creation of sound in the brain does result from the low-intensity microwave signals, quite like those released by cell phones today.
        In his most recent critique of Frey, Lin ignores Frey’s Science paper completely. Instead, he cites five of Frey’s other papers, giving the appearance of thoroughness. Frey comments on this highly selective reading of his work: “This sort of thing has always been done by the ‘no hazard establishment people’ since the beginning, and has misled scientists and the public….”
        Frey recalls that some of the studies purporting to show that Frey’s work on the blood-brain barrier were wrong, did no such thing. “One group claimed to repeat our studies and find nothing. But instead of injecting a fluorescent dye into the artery where it could circulate like I did, they injected it into the abdomen, waited five minutes, killed the animals, and found no evidence that the dye had reached the brain. Of course not.”
        So first-hand evidence of dishonest review, then dishonest “replication”, committed by a leading researcher and committee-sitter. That’s an example from Davis. What’s flaccid, regardless of this being from a book intended for a popular audience? Here’s some disdained generality:
        A dogma exists, and then gradually more and more findings come in from the edges of the scientific world that suggest the dogma must be overturned. Yet there is no denying that the majority of published studies on radio frequency radiation and the brain do not show any impact. How is this possible? Frey reflects back on the research enterprise some four decades later with a bit of cynicism: “Those who set up studies that are supposed to replicate work on the blood-brain barrier, can make changes in the design that are small but critical. Basically what is supposed to be an identical experiment with contrary results turns out to be no such thing. Instead, studies are done not to clarify the problem, but to confuse people. We’ve got quite a history of that in this field.”

  5. Michael5MacKay says:

    I note that Brodeur’s alarmist writings on microwaves, referring to studies back in the 1950′s and ’60′s haven’t been confirmed, but have fallen by the wayside. Rather than do further research that would support or refute those claims, the alarmists have simply moved on from microwaves, to power lines, to cellphones, and now to wifi and smart meters. A clear case of moving the goalposts. If any of these were truly health hazards, the evidence would be mounting, but it isn’t.

    I note that Deever has yet to acknowledge the enormous logical fallacy that Olle Johansson committed in the same House of Commons Standing Committee on Health that he cited, that I asked him about almost a month ago in the comments to an earlier blogpost on this topic.

    I also note that the link Deever posted in relation to the article on The Man Who Was Allergic To Radio Waves begins: “Your cellphone does not in itself cause cancer.” Cherry-picking indeed! The article also says:

    Boice points out that data from cancer registries, such as the National Cancer Institute’s SEER program, shows that brain-cancer rates haven’t gone up since the early 1990s. The trends are also relatively flat from the mid-1970s to the early 2000s in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, where cellphones have been in use longer than in the U.S. If cellphones were causing brain cancer, an obvious uptick in reported cases would be expected. “If you look at the totality of biological and experimental studies,” Boice says, “the vast amount of evidence is that there is no association between cellphones and malignancies.”

    Deever alleges a cover up — but the reality is that adverse health effects cannot be covered up, if they truly exist. If EMF will lead to an epidemic, as Devra Davis claims, people will be dying of brain cancer at an increased rate — but, as the quote above indicates, there is no evidence of any such increase.

    I have stated my opinion based on the totality of the evidence.

    I ask again: What evidence would satisfy Deever that microwave EMF is not harmful?

    Time, if nothing else, will tell who’s view is correct.

    • deever says:

      “studies back in the 1950′s and ’60′s haven’t been confirmed” — the point of bringing such ref. is to underline that there has long been awareness of deleterious bioeffect not thermally describable, going way back, maybe I’ll bring some more such quotes; as for non-confirmation, what can you mean by that? “Exact” replications? That is certainly not what is required to sound a public & environmental health alarm. Tell a sensibly protective parent that there is doubt about safety, see how they react, which should be at the head of public policy consideration, not the tail. E. Euro. study of these matters preceded Western in many ways, and the result were exposure standards far more stringent than our own, based on your non-confirmation. They sensibly banned microwave ovens even.

      “moving the goalposts” — a very strange remark indeed; Brodeur was the most prominent writer on this, strong-arm media & other manipulation shut down public debate, what he had to say was so important and threatening to certain interests that they had to form priestly bodies like COMAR to address the public in indirect defence of interests threatened; one book highly recommended would be Andrew Marino’s Electric Wilderness (’84), a clear insider scientist’s view of such manipulation to push aside uncomfortable damning scientific evidence, in that case brought re ELF — a diff. but related game, not same one with moved goalposts, what a dumb remark that was! — involving even perjury by a leading sci. mouthpiece, corruption of process &c

      “evidence would be mounting” — as said at ,”Cellphones and Brain Tumors
      15 Reasons for Concern [:]
      Science, Spin and the Truth Behind Interphone”, “And, it is also a truism, if you don’t look for an effect, you will not find an effect.” Skeptos I’ve met like this all display self-blinkering. They call for evidence, but restrict
      provenance to authorities of their preference. Then they attack appeals to different sources as argument from authority, further still oblivious to the intertwining of evidence & authority.

      re Olle at HESA — I told you not to bother with such games, so you’ve failed to heed my own fair request that you bring it yourself

      “cherry picking” — i do not get what you are saying, i brought this even from mainstream media a piece about a clearly ehs-afflicted person, that is all, i also said it was not a great piece, what’s your problem, if your readers are unfamiliar with ehs, needing it in a mainstream source, there you have an example, i’d have preferred to introduce by other means (and i dislike the term, ‘ehs’), but skeptos seem not to be skeptical of so much in the mainstream, so that’s why the “pick”

      so the cancer comment in the article is irrelevant

      “totality of the evidence.” — are you being serious?

      • Art Tricque says:

        If after 50 years all the alarmists can point to are in vitro studies and nebulous in vivo effects that are not consistently replicable especially at larger and larger sample sizes, is it any wonder that the alarmist camp is rejected by health authorities?

      • deever says:

        “rejected by health authorities?” — I will give you this, there is no claim that the rank and file working in such bodies are out to do anything other than what they feel is expected of them to maintain their positions. It is rare indeed for someone in such an organization to not be a “team player” or at least not a “boat rocker”. But when someone who has a broader view than this kind of obeisant self-maintenance speaks up, there is trouble, and that is why I must have already brought somewhere here already the example of Shiv Chopra & his recent memoirs as veteran from Health Canada, Corrupt to the Core. Read it and get some of what I might be meaning by cultural co-optation. When Dept. of Health people are handling “clients” in an anglo-world fashion with impatient goal-orientedness attached, they don’t get my confidence, and why should they get yours? There is no reason to think that in “radiation protection” at HC it is majorly different. It’s probably worse, given the close co-operation with Americans & Motorola on this e.g. from early years there. So this affects hiring practices right through to bureaucratic conduct such as evidenced (soft? hard?) in the recent CBC The National report, where HC-read studies were elicited showing RF harm, but far more were found by laypeople searching. What does a civil servant do with paper/email that comes to his/her desk that is uncomfortable, but shuffle it to the bottom of the pile, stuff like that.

  6. deever says:

    Someone just sent me
    “Dr. Frances Kelsey:
    Turning the Thalidomide Tragedy
    into Food and Drug Administration Reform”
    So I thought, it’s also from a generation ago, she’s born Canadian, and singularly stood against something, vindicated, show some Canadians finding it hard to clue in about co-optation in the field of bioeffects, and dissenting “alarmists”. But, “Dr. Kelsey demonstrated, and Congress legislated, that the FDAs mission of protecting public health must be based on science.” So what do the perpetrators do? Go to work on co-opting the science. Read Doubt is Their Product (Michaels), Science in the Private Interest (Krimsky), Bending Science (McGarrity & Wagner), The Procrustean Approach (Maisch, online), Cellular Telephone Russian Roulette (Kane, online), etc. & Davis.
    With cell tele-phony & related radiation, you have the product of a century of refining misbehaviour. And Trottier telling you, it’s all okay, “relax”.

    • Michael5MacKay says:

      I have read much of what you’re telling me to read, and taken it into account. In the case of EMF, the signs that science is being co-opted aren’t there, except among the fearmongering conspiracy theorists who simply dismiss all scientific evidence that doesn’t support their view. The alleged conspiracy would have to be so widespread that it would be impossible to maintain. Thus so extremely improbably as not to be worth taking seriously. Occam’s razor and all that.

      I don’t think it’s all okay, relax, because Trottier says so, but because the evidence — the underlying data — that he and others cite [see for instance the Skeptiblog post referenced at the beginning of this post] do so, and the analysis of that data has been properly conducted.

      • deever says:

        “I have read much” — could not have been on my scale of muchness

        “signs that science is being co-opted aren’t there” — there’s certainly “much” you are discounting!

        “fearmongering conspiracy theorists” — what’s with this “conspiracy” thing you guys like to fling? all the word means is that more than 1 person has gotten together to plan something bad, what’s the big deal with the word?

        “simply dismiss all scientific evidence that doesn’t support their view” — that’s silly! an example, maybe not the best but still useful, given is of studying highway traffic for dangers — do you more fruitfully study the vast majority of safely completed trips, or are all the accidents not more interesting? when literally 1000s of studies show RF harm, your position seems ludicrous; and if the claim will ever be about power density, one of the major differences between East & West research had to do with the latter’s nuttily discounting cumulative effects, so it could fairly have been anticipated that relatively small doses would eventually lead to great harm, such as has been consistently found re cell mast exposure (an omission i have publicly taken Davis to task about, as she focuses on so-called “safe” cell phone use, for now anyway)

        “conspiracy would have to be so widespread” — that is just silly again: do you know of no massively kept secret projects from WWII, for example? and, as i must have already indicated, in an effectively strict hierarchical situation, a perpetrator only has to capture a critical node or two to affect the whole reliant chain of command, and on this for our issue i re-recommend Maisch, see who gets to sit on what bodies and how; i do not think that there are more than a critical few who are driving this sordid affair with enough knowledge of harm, and in any case, as with the HC example above, almost all “innocent” participants feel stuck by degrees, for various reasons; but this is far less important than looking at the actual damning material, you don’t need my adumbrations of what to expect structurally, but your and Trot’s conspiratorial musings are worth far less still

        “Occam’s razor” — I know well how this anti-intellectual weapon is wielded

        “the Skeptiblog post referenced at the beginning of this post” — i looked at it and already brought here a condemnation of shermer’s approach, but await his forthcoming article given all the email he got

  7. Art Tricque says:

    Deever continually cites other health controversies as evidence that the EMF alarmists are correct, but never provides actual evidence in the EMF case. He uses bogeymen like industry and the military, but never can cite specific evidence how this has tainted official comprehensive reviews, like that of the SCENIHR. He continues to repeat that only physicists are in the rationalist camp, when it had already been pointed out that plenty of biologists, doctors and health experts are also firmly dismissive of the alarmists (see SCENIHR bios). Quotations from alarmists? Books? Self-published reports on the internet? My grade-school nieces can publish on the internet, or a book, or come up with a quote! Do better.

    • deever says:

      Let’s use some of you skeptos’ lingo:

      “Deever continually cites other health controversies as evidence that the EMF alarmists are correct, but never provides actual evidence in the EMF case.”

      “Wrong”. You’ve been offered directly & indirectly learned evidence aplenty. The other controversies are brought to provide the (in-)human backdrop, to show a kind of consistency that seems lost on you. Read Maisch & Kane if you want only what’s right on topic.

      “He uses bogeymen like industry and the military, but never can cite specific evidence how this has tainted official comprehensive reviews, like that of the SCENIHR”.

      As if this is easy to do, aggressors not knowing how to cover themselves. Yet you have indeed been invited to read plenty of passages indicating misbehaviour, and choose to believe that this does not extend any further, all the while rational people cry out in pain. There are so many ways gross & subtle by which process is corrupted. I have a preference cultural criticism over looking for crude misbehaviour, like perjury, bribery, fraud, because the underlying culture is what makes it easier for such wrongdoing to go on. So, for example, when I see E. Euro. researchers exhibiting some patience regarding cumulative effects (vs shooting off at inaninmate objects for short periods) and paying attention to how people said they felt (vs dosimetric obsession and telling eg soldiers affected to just sleep it off) and taking more seriously occupational stress (vs longstanding exploitive attitude towards workers or else quite simply a “buck up” attitude about feeling ill); those kinds of things are what are most telling for me. But you have indeed been shown indicators of, pointers to, very bad stuff, heedless you, when I am supposed to bother with more of the same at SCENHIR.

      “He continues to repeat that only physicists are in the rationalist camp, when it had already been pointed out that plenty of biologists, doctors and health experts are also firmly dismissive of the alarmists (see SCENIHR bios).”

      “Wrong” — find the words, “only physicists”; surely distortion is not something a skepto is proud of

      “Quotations from alarmists? Books? Self-published reports on the internet? My grade-school nieces can publish on the internet, or a book, or come up with a quote! Do better.”

      So everyone against you is alarmist. Give this to your nieces to read then if you are impervious, it features the word, ‘alarming’:
      In this work you will not find details of the most recent research findings of cancer causation or DNA damage. Those studies, each in its turn, have been well publicized and quickly forgotten as the industry “spin doctors” discounted the importance of each finding. Instead what you will find here is a commentary that presents a litany of past research studies, hundreds of research studies from the 1950s through the mid-1990s. But don’t be misled. Those older studies are equally alarming, in their findings of radiation exposure, DNA damage, chromosome damage, tissue damage, radiation absorption, cataract formation, tumor formation, memory loss, motor skills degradation, and more. There are many more studies, hundreds that might have been added, but the point is well made by those that are cited without the need to bludgeon the reader with more than what has been presented.
      That was star Motorola man, Kane. You want that I should not quote first-hand insider accounts, rather distant panels staffed by “politician scientists”, the “seriously dependent”?
      And things have changed much since he wrote that?

      • Michael5MacKay says:

        Other controversies = apples and oranges. We’re talking here about EMF.

      • Art Tricque says:

        Deever, slippery, slippery. Stop playing cute: “physicists and enginneers [sic] must cede to biology re public health” Plenty of biologists, medical researchers and health specialists are in the rationalist camp and thus in public health re EMF.

      • Art Tricque says:

        “As if this is easy to do, aggressors not knowing how to cover themselves” & “cultural criticism” & citation of Kane’s “spin doctors”. Deever, either you have direct evidence or not. If you do, please spell it out. If you do not, this line of argument is a fail.

      • deever says:

        No, no, Michael, it’s moving goalposts, right, not mixing fruit?

        Lowest to highest frequencies in synthetic radiation have been shown to be xenobiotic. You see nothing inferable from that? You think a “mechanism” is needed (many have been offered) to act with greater caution, even with the backdrop of misdeeds?

      • deever says:

        “Stop playing cute: “physicists and enginneers [sic] must cede to biology re public health” Plenty of biologists, medical researchers and health specialists are in the rationalist camp and thus in public health re EMF”

        thanks for catching the typo, and i expect the majority of those you list are either uninformedly acquiescent , or are among the few crudely or culturally “co-opted”

        In Canada, recently on the wifi in schools controversy, two prominent “experts” trotted out to publicly reassure that all is ok, are very clearly not perceived as impartial (Muc & McBride, the latter apparently allowing for many years the title, “Dr”, to be erroneously put before her name…the former apparently having worked closely with Repacholi, (see Maisch))

  8. Art Tricque says:

    Deever “politician scientists” Who are they? Why, anyone not in the alarmist camp, as defined by alarmists like Blank. Same as “industry” vs “independent”, monikers administered by the alarmist camp, as defined by themselves. They believe one is “industry”, if any of one’s research is funded by arms-length bodies themselves funded by the Mobile Manufacturers Forum MMF, and that this invalidates all such research. Fact is, even if all the research supporting the rationalist position had been conducted directly by industry, it would be the quality of such research (and not the funding source) primarily that would determine the weight it would carry in any comprehensive scientific review.

    • Michael5MacKay says:

      Well said.

      Every one who calls themselves a skeptic that I know is well aware that all data has to be taken with a grain of salt (ie looked at skeptically) due to the inherent potential for bias. We know from experience that vested interests may attempt to distort science or use poorly-conducted science to further their agendas (for instance, much of the alt-med community, creationists, etc.). The bottom line though, is that trying to argue with reality – is like tilting against windmills. Reality will when. The evidence will out. If there really was an epidemic of people suffering severe health consequences as a result of microwave EMF from cellphones, etc., the industry would not be able to hide it.

      Sowing doubt, as the tobacco industry did for so many years, can only be a delay tactic. The mounting weight of evidence will eventually become overwhelming and irrefutable by any rational person.

      Hence my opinion that the health hazards of EMF are not what the fearmongers say. In this case, the evidence is not mounting; quite the opposite. I might be wrong, in which case I’ll happily admit it. There’s no shame in being wrong. What is shameful is refusing to change one’s view in the face of compelling contrary evidence.

      We’re skeptics, not idiots.

  9. deever says:

    “alarmists like Blank” — from his work his university holds a patent on RF-induction of traits on DNA, eg, so a guy like that can rightly point to those, eg, who opposed him at that superfluous HESA meeting Oct 28, set up it seems to give the bad guys a chance to make a better case, people like Muc & Prato who do not see with intimacy what this justifiable “alarmist” sees, Blank can call them as he sees them, as can Johansson also venerable in the field, and persecuted for his honesty (eg losing his office right after HESA, as did the three other whistleblower scientists testifying — I know, a skepto’s first thoughts are, they deserved it (maybe some kind of misconduct all), or, coincidence theory kicks in, stuff just happens, eh)

    “quality” — again, our arbiter of admissibility

    • Art Tricque says:

      “Quality” what I meant was what quality standard the research met — more blinding, less blinding; more controls, fewer controls; good statistical analysis, poor statistical analysis — ultimately should determine what weight the research would receive in a comprehensive scientific review. Presumably, Deever, you do think research can be conducted better or worse?

    • Art Tricque says:

      Deever continues to present no evidence here or elsewhere that anything that happened afterwards to Olle J or any other alarmist presenter at HESE was because of their appearance. Statements from the alarmists themselves are insufficient. Any official documents from their places of work would be good. Otherwise, it is just correlation, and an argument fail.

      • deever says:

        OK, onlookers, this is “alarmist”, and not capable, long-term, highly respected research results in summary? (from HESA):

        Dr. Dimitris Panagopoulos:
        Hello. Thanks for inviting me.

        I shall try to describe, within a few lines, 10 basic conclusions from our experimental and theoretical work at the University of Athens over the last 11 years on the biological effects of mobile telephony radiation.

        Conclusion number one is that GSM radiation at 900 and 1,800 megahertz, from mobile phone handsets, is found to reduce insect reproduction by up to 60%. The insects were exposed for six minutes daily during the first five days of their adult lives. Both males and females were found to be affected.

        Second, the reduction of insect reproductive capacity was found to be due to cell death induction in reproductive cells. In the papers distributed to the committee members, we can see pictures of eggs from insects. In the first picture, we see eggs from a non-exposed insect. In the second picture, we see eggs from an insect exposed to radiation from a mobile phone handset. We can see the characteristic fluorescence denoting DNA fragmentation and cell death. You have more pictures like this.

        Third, the effect of short-term exposure is evident at radiation intensities down to one microwatt per square centimetre. This radiation intensity is found at a distance of about one metre from a cellphone or 100 metres from a corresponding base station antenna. This radiation intensity is 450 times and 900 times lower than the limits set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, ICNIRP, at 900 and 1,800 megahertz, respectively.

        It is possible that for long-term exposure durations of weeks or months or years, the effect would be evident at even longer distances or at even lower intensities. For this, a safety factor should be introduced in the above value, of one microwatt per square centimetre. By introducing a safety factor of 10, the above value becomes 0.1 microwatts per square centimetre, which is the limit proposed by the BioInitiative Report.

        Fourth, the effect is strongest for intensities higher than 200 microwatts per square centimetre; this is when we have a cellphone very close to our heads. Within that so-called window, around the intensity value of 10 microwatts per square centimetre, the effect becomes even stronger. This intensity value of 10 microwatts per square centimetre corresponds to a distance of about 20 to 30 centimetres from a mobile phone handset or 20 to 30 metres from a base station antenna.

        Fifth, the effect increases with increasing daily duration of exposure in terms of short-term exposures of one minute to 21 minutes daily.

        Sixth, the effect is non-thermal. There are no temperature increases during the exposures.

        Seventh, the effect at the cellular level is most likely due to the irregular gating of ion channels on cell membranes, which is caused by the electromagnetic fields. This leads to disruption of the cell’s electrochemical balance and function. This mechanism is a non-thermal one.

        Eighth, although we cannot simply extrapolate the above results from insects to humans, similar effects on humans cannot be excluded. On the contrary, they are possible, first because insects are, in general, much more resistant to radiation than mammals, and second, because the presented findings are in agreement with the results of other experimenters who are reporting DNA damage in mammalian cells or mammalian and human infertility. There are many references for these findings in papers also distributed to the committee.

        + -(0930)

        Ninth, reported observations during the last years regarding the diminishing of insect populations, especially bees, can be explained by a decrease in their reproductive capacity, as I described.

        Our tenth and last conclusion is that symptoms referred to as “microwave syndrome”, like headaches, sleep disturbances, fatigue, etc., among people residing around base station antennas, can possibly be explained by cellular stress induction on brain cells or even cell death induction on a number of brain cells.

        Thank you for your attention.


        I can provide you a timeline even of what happened to Dimitris. Andrew Goldsworthy has told us his story. Annie Sasco has suffered greatly for her responsible professional stances, added to which the HESA aftermath. Olle Johansson had an international letter-writing campaign in his support after, they ejected him as he was recovering from surgery to boot (not the first time for his persecution in this manner). You really think any of these institutions will confess? In any case, after pressure, it seems that he has been given another office, of course the institute says this was always intended. Dimitris I think has quit in disgust for another institution. Andrew is retired (he said that any intent to stifle his later years’ research at his institution backfired…).

    • Art Tricque says:

      “venerable” Being venerable does equate to being right. Another Deever logical fallacy special: a non sequitur and an appeal to emotion.

  10. Art Tricque says:

    Deever’s mistrust of Health Canada is a sham. He must drink water and eat food, and Health Canada is involved in water standards for drinking and food production.

  11. deever says:

    “Sowing doubt, as the tobacco industry did for so many years, can only be a delay tactic.” — I think the tobacco case is far less clear than is widely made out out be. If you consider that traditional tabasceros use probably outrageous quantities but do not suffer as common cigarette users do, and that its agriculture and processing probably changed dramatically for the worse some decades ago, and other environmental factors are likely little taken into account…There is enough to comdemn tobacco use as it had been effectively foisted upon the public (with physicians’ endorsement, you should recall), but, even more so with RF, as with most all environmental & health, the matter is complex. How much evidence was needed to comdemn tobacco? There is a ton more, more than suggestive, of RF-induced harm! Many more cases clearer than tobacco, see esp. Micheals, Doubt is Their Product

    • deever says:

      I should have added, entrenching the problem further indeed, re govt. revenue. I think even our fed. govt. in early years had no revenue of its own but that from liquor & tobacco. So now the importance to it of telecom-connected revenue makes it very hard to extricate, even if revenues in are exceeded by health costs out. And the most forceful push from behind of wireless madness may very well have been from international financial interests, apart from crude exploitation of their already grossly over-influential position, intending it to be the short term economic boon in otherwise a time of contraction. And now, just as defenders of the indefensible trot out 9-1-1, 9-1-1, the fear business, you have to have cell phones for safety (as predictably happened at HESA), on the economic end, while cell phones might be toys for the affluent, they are made out to be as if necessary serious life-enhancers for eg poor Africans (see the clip on The National that followed right after Mesley’s report i linked to above). So at the WHO there is surely the (perverted) justification that even if they are a danger African health will benefit from the poverty alleviation by cell phone — as if there were no better ways, even those at hand, to do so.

      In such a dubious moral context, how could you so easily accept your orthodoxies, and want to wait it out, as you seem to recommend?

  12. Michael Kruse says:

    @Deever – I have been loathe to wade into this debate because I did not want to continue to read your poor grammar and obfuscatory sentence structure. However, I wanted to point out a few things.

    1. None of us at Skeptic North are connected to the wifi industry and have nothing to benefit from spreading mis-information about the state of scientific consensus on the effects of EMF. I, personally, have no stake in either side of the debate. If tomorrow, Health Canada said “We were wrong, RF radiation is killing us, please stop using it!” I would gladly review the science and if it was a sound conclusion, I would join the bandwagon.

    3. I have no interests in reading any more quotes from any book – links of original studies please – medline or any other database will do – preferable something from the new millennium – anything that has the date 1979 on it is bound to be awfully out of date non-reproducible.

    2. Scientists have spent many many years studying this, and the best way that science has found to summarize the best information in the field, given pre-determined criteria as expressed in such guidelines as The Cochrane group etc., is a systematic review. The following are all the systematic reviews I could find in 15 minutes of search Google scholar and they are all quite clear: the evidence is poor and no mechanism has been confirmed to suggest a biological effect. If you have systematic reviews saying the opposite, please share them. If you would like complete versions of those articles which are linked to in abstract form, I may be able to dig those up too.
    “This review showed that the large majority of individuals who claim to be able to detect low level RF-EMF are not able to do so under double-blind conditions. If such individuals exist, they represent a small minority and have not been identified yet. The available observational studies do not allow differentiating between biophysical from EMF and nocebo effects.”
    “The symptoms described by “electromagnetic hypersensitivity” sufferers can be severe and are sometimes disabling. However, it has proved difficult to show under blind conditions that exposure to EMF can trigger these symptoms. This suggests that “electromagnetic hypersensitivity” is unrelated to the presence of EMF, although more research into this phenomenon is required.”
    “It can be concluded that EHS groups are very inhomogeneous and contain numerous persons with no increased ability to perceive low frequency electric or magnetic fields”
    “In conclusion, based on the limited studies available, there is no valid evidence for an association between impaired well-being and exposure to mobile phone radiation presently. However, the limited quantity and quality of research in this area do not allow to exclude long-term health effects definitely.

    here is a paper that suggests that ruling out somatic problems is important before jumping to the conclusion that EHS is what they have:
    “The weakness and inconsistent nature of epidemiologic data, combined with the continued dearth of coherent and reproducible findings from experimental laboratory research, leave one uncertain and rather doubtful that any real biologic link exists between EMF exposure and carcinogenicity”
    “In the absence of evidence from cellular or animal studies, and given the methodological uncertainties and in many cases inconsistencies of the existing epidemiologic literature, there is no chronic disease outcome for which an etiological relation to EMF exposure can be regarded as established”;2-3/abstract
    May be some link from EMF and childhood leukemia – but this is a meta-analysis – garbage in and garbage out – data about exposure is obtained through interview not direct measurements – so bias cannot be ruled out
    “Studies to date have not convincingly confirmed or ruled out an association between non-ionizing radiation and the risk of childhood leukemia” – inconclusive

    • deever says:

      Oh, well, Michael Kruse, your blog & comment prose is just such a pleasure to read. I am supposed to take more time with uncomprehending skeptocranks, whose specialty is insult and dubious wording, and edit so you can digest more easily? This exercise will wear out its usefulness for me soon enough, the public service of warning the possible number among you who really are thoroughgoing in their skepticism, or are impressionable to being misled by the likes of Lorne Trottier, that function will have already been discharged here by myself.

      Science, science, science. At the root of your problem is the un-self-consciousness with which you use this word. It is deeply problematic, above all in our time as it affects policymakers. I can suggest another CBC-related output, a book from the CBC Ideas series, “How to Think About Science”, David Cayley, ed., 2009, Ideas on the Nature of Science. I bring it again for the Canadian connexion.

      “I would join the bandwagon” — what a silly depiction of suffering human beings

      “no interests in reading any more quotes from any book ” – you think that bringing directly quotes from the very book your ringleader trashes is not appropriate??

      “anything that has the date 1979 on it is bound to be awfully out of date non-reproducible” — when it comes to the complexity of biology, your reproducibility fetish can be very misplaced, and part of the point of bringing old material was to demonstrate the cultural problem, not to mention to deal with what one commenter on your own bandwagon mentioned about historical period

      “Scientists have spent many many years studying this” – what’s the point of bringing this up when you just appeared to toss away historical study as if of little relevance?

      As for provocation studies, i must have said already among you, perhaps this “troll’s” “word salad” “obfuscated” too much for you to notice, they are notoriously difficult, esp. if the provokers are clueless as to “mechanism”, fail to account for the subjects’ variable states, and even fail to mention that those who found the process too painful even quit in one set of prominent studies. What is interesting, and has indeed been found on occasion even by these provokers, is that there are indeed people with uncanny ability to detect the/some EM insult. What needs to occur is not some dumb statistical averaging, but to more closely examine such subjects. I do not believe that western mainstream conceptuality is able to make ample descriptive sense of what is going on, although certainly enough has been found already to make for responsible “alarmism”. I suspect the most fruitful encounter would be with TCM in the attempt at more comprehensive understanding. But for public health decisions, consult the ones who have deeply looked into the field, like David Carpenter, Sam Milham, and they see enough to condemn current approaches (and get belittled or vilified as usual).

  13. Acitta says:

    One thing I notice about much of the discussion by the EMF scaremongers is that they don’t seem to differentiate between the different frequencies and technologies used. Cell phones use different frequency bands depending upon the country and carrier involved. There are different technologies carried upon those frequencies: CDMA, GSM, UMTS, etc. Wi-Fi and cordless phones use different frequency bands. With the end of analogue TV broadcasts, those frequencies will be allocated for mobile phone and Wi-Fi usage. Does a cell phone using 850 MHz have a different effect from one use 2100 MHz? Does GSM have a different effect than UMTS? Does Wi-Fi on channel 1 have a different effect from Wi-Fi on channel 10? Since the invention of radio, we have been using a broad range of electromagnetic frequencies for different purposes. Different frequencies have different characteristics. If it wasn’t so, it would not be possible to tune our radios and TVs to stations broadcasting on different frequencies. If biological effects exist as some claim, then it is necessary to tell the world which frequencies and technologies have which effects. Even gardeners know that plants require particular frequencies of electromagnetic radiation (i.e. light) to survive. Putting plants under electric lighting that lacks those frequencies will adversely effect those plants. So certain electromagnetic frequencies do have biological effect, but it is not clear that those frequencies used in modern technology have any biological effect on humans.

  14. deever says:

    “One thing I notice” — Well you are not looking very well, are you now. A sensible claim is that every frequency/range and every modulatiuon pattern and every individual and even every individual body part might be responsive differently, it is that boggling! It is our regulatory authority which lumps the whole lot together stupidly, under great pressure from industry & abettors & obsequious govt. It seems sensible to fear that the closer to body part sizes the wavelengths get, the more immediately dangerous (apart from cumulative effect from other exposures). There are surely sweeping things that can be said about wide spectrum ranges. Swiss & Toronto authorities eg even extrapolated from FM broadcast effect on sleep to mobile phone radiation. The issue encomapsses our entire (mis)use of the entire spectrum. In typical form, accelerated & accentuated from capitalistic excess, we have a case of generalizing what probably should have remained particular, apart from other ugly underpinnings. So some of your “scaremongers” (are skeptos incapable of clean language when challenged? Is tirade Thoms your exemplar vs Palmer?) largely do no worse than your “authorities”, who have allowed, eg, wifi in schools with zero testing on children (do we not have shades of Nuremburg Code violation here?), assuming it’ll be fine. See the OAHPP report ostensibly on wifi, a poor excuse for a report, overtaken with risk analysis disease, with nothing to really study on it, wandering all over the spectrum for its surmise about safety.
    See , I can show you a quick if pretty thorough critique as well.

    “Even gardeners know ” — indeed, but what foresters to a man/woman persist in denying is the possibility that trees eg which make their living from part of the spectrum can be affected by interference with another part, since they are trained not in physics, they look to climate or chemical descriptors. Did you not notice the recent Dutch study on wifi & trees, & my own comments? Your Davis-trasher mentions my rosebush example, so nice of you Lorne, maybe you’d like to shake hands with what’s left of the rosebush & see what psychosomatically comes of it? See the other thread here, .

  15. gmcevoy says:

    pure projection

  16. deever says:

    Let’s look at Trottier’s deconstructing Davis. I’ll start with this Part II, since here we are.

    “held to the ear (or pinna in technical jargon)” — It’s hard to resist defying Kruse and bringing a quote from a highly relevant text, Maisch’s that I’ve repeatedly recommended, of grim but apt title, The Procrustean Approach ( ) . You know, the storied figure of ancient Greece, who accommodated guests to bed size by lopping off bodily protrusions:

    Disregarding the advice from the federal agencies, ICES (SCC- 28) pushed ahead in late 2002 with its proposal to relax the limit for exposures to mobile phone radiation. Researcher Dr. Om Gandhi, from the University of Utah, stated in a December 2002 open letter to ICES that their proposal would create “the most relaxed RF safety standard in the world”. Gandhi pointed out that the proposed changes would make the IEEE SAR limit “3 to 5 times higher than the limit set by ICNIRP.” Gandhi said to Microwave News that the newly proposed ICES/IEEE RF safety standard would potentially allow cellular telephone radiations that would be 8 to 16 times those currently allowed in the U.S.
    According to Gandhi, “they would also be larger than twice those allowed under the ICNIRP Guidelines – this vitiating the desire to have a harmonized safety standard for cellular telephones.”296 The ICES committee, chaired by Motorola’s C-K Chou and the U.S. Navy’s John D’Andrea also voted to increase the averaging volume used in calculating SARs from 1 gram to 10 gram, relax the SAR limit from 1.6 W/kg to 2 W/kg. These two changes brought the mobile phone limits in line with ICNIRP’s limit of 2 W/kg over 10 grams of tissue. Committee members also wanted to relax the exposures to the outer ear (the pinnae) from 1.6 W/kg over 1 g. to 4.0W/kg over 10 g.297 These proposals to increase the IEEE standard in order to make cell phones sold in America compliant are all examples of the Procrustean Approach. This is especially seen by the Motorola proposal to relax the standard for the pinnae – essentially cutting off the outer
    ear because it did not conform to the standard limits.
    An ongoing problem for the cell phone manufacturers in the U.S. was ensuring that their phones were in compliance with the FCC’S SAR mobile phone limit of 1.6 W/kg averaged over 1 gram of tissue. This was seen in testing by Motorola’s Libertyville
    Cellular Electromagnetics Laboratory in Illinois in 1993 and 1994 when testing Motorola phones for compliance with the FCC limit. The Motorola laboratory found wide variations in SAR measurements (up to 4 fold) and in many situations the phones were in excess of the FCC limit.243 In addition, Dr. Om Gandhi from the University of Utah, found in 1999 that under the 1.5 W/kg and 1 gram criteria, many U.S. phones violated
    the FCC limits because of high exposures to the ear.244 This compliance problem was solved when SCC-28 SC-4 voted in Sept 2000 to reclassify the human ear as an “extremity”, thereby increasing the allowable limit for the ear from a mobile phone from 1.6 W/kg averaged over 1 gram of ear tissue to 4.0 W/kg averaged over 10 grams of tissue.
    This relaxation was first introduced by C-K Chou from Motorola at a SC4 meeting on October 17, 1999, basically for “decisions on
    compliance testing”. At that meeting Dr. Veli Santomaa from Nokia gave a presentation, explaining the reason behind the proposal. According to Santomaa, the SAR level is highest in the ear (when using a cell phone) and since the outer ear “is not a vital organ” it was not necessary to “protect the [outer ear] against RF exposure at the same level as the brain.” The reason for the need to relax the allowable SAR level in the ear was so that “maximum power of phones will not be limited unnecessarily” according to Santomaa. This was clearly an admission that a Procrustean Approach was being followed.
    Dear skeptic fellow citizens, are you not all really being treated as extremities, if you get potentially in the way of an aggressive commercial, military or abettor goal?

    “50X safety margin” — I’ve yet to see any truly non-arbitrary determination of all these safety factors. I read that old Russian guidelines factored in dosimetric uncertainties. 50 is a mere number, maybe just a convenient one, with maybe no safety meaning at all. I think it also might have a 5x and then a 10x component multiplied together. Only naive acceptance of the actual SAR limits as relevant could lead to comfort in Trottier’s reassurance. On SAR, from another review of Davis’ book,,
    The USA FCC has just revised its advice and says that choosing a low SAR (Specific Absorption Rate – the amount of energy that is deposited in your body) handset is not a safety advantage. Surprisingly I agree with the FCC. I have long thought that peak SAR was a misleading “red herring”.

    Some of the lowest peak-SAR phones actually emit a higher total SAR into brain tissue than the much higher peak-SAR handsets – it is just spread out a lot more through the brain tissue. Generally low SAR phones are less efficient at getting their signals out to the base station and so regularly work at a much higher transmit power to compensate. Peak-SAR (the thing used for SAR rating) is just the highest value recorded when the handset is working at maximum power. It does not represent in any way the total SAR into your brain.

    Handsets have a power-control range of over 1000-fold in the power they transmit – they are told what power they need to transmit at by the base-station during the start of the phone call when the handset works at full power for the measurement to take place. Efficient handsets then turn their power down often by over 100-fold!

    Choosing a low peak-SAR handset was really a diversionary exercise by the “thermal effects only” brigade, in my opinion. It missed the point of non-thermal concerns completely. If the problem of brain cancer or other effects turns out to be non-thermal effects, then all handsets have a problem and choosing a low SAR handset will not help and might, in fact, be worse.
    Thus the recent S.F. legislated initiative, and the Ontario NDP MPP’s private member’s bill, both mentioning SAR, are possibly dangerously wrong to do so, misleading the public. (France Gélinas’ bill does mention primarily prominent warning labels, see .)

    “none of these lawsuits has yet succeeded” — A sad recent related US judicial development effectively
    defers on health matters to a non-health agency ( ). Plaintiffs are usually too sick or poor to sue. One sad case otherwise that failed before completion was that of Motorola veteran Robert C. Kane, he and his lawyer both perishing I believe from cell-phone-induced brain injury they were rather knowledgeably suing about. Kane’s online, Cellular Telephone Russian Roulette, is a must-read to understand the background, “science by PR”. ( )

    “Davis only discusses a handful of the thousands of studies” — I’m berated here for speaking at length, yet Davis for her general intended audience is supposed to what, bring 1000s of uninteresting studies? Part of the gist was that so many of these were likely designed or manipulated to show no effect.

    “Hardell. His methods have been widely criticized.” — Let’s have it, show your readers the wide criticism. Before you do, read from Davis a pretty reasonable-sounding Hardell, who
    “had found an association between prolonged cell phone use and two types of brain cancers — with those who had begun using a cell phone before age twenty having five times more brain tumours than those who had not”.

    “When I spoke with Dr. Hardell, I asked him to explain how he could have reached this conclusion [that "more likely than not" someone's "ten thousand hours of cell phone use" was "associated with" his brain tumour] , since so many epidemiologists remain unsure [...]

    “We have to examine all the information we have. To me that means I do not merely consider whether we have enough human studies. After all, we know that those will take several more decades to complete. I look carefully at what we know from experiments with animals, short-term exposures to humans about their memory and other brain functions. Then we must combine this with observations we make by studying people with the disease and comparing them to those without it. In my studies I find one pattern over and over again. Those who have used their phones the most and for the longest, have more malignant brain tumours than others.”
    On Interphone generally, see eg

    I guess I’ll stop for length and await an expected insult-ridden reaction (they don’t hurt at all, but make you all look real bad, so keep ‘em coming as long as you share Trottier’s view). To be maybe continued.

  17. Composer99 says:


    As I hinted at in the other thread, you have a severe dose-response obstacle to overcome to make your case.

    As I hinted at in another thread on this site, visible light from the sun is approximately one million times more energetic than the EM frequencies that you are claiming cause some sort of harmful effect.

    In other words, one would infer that if the low-energy, low-frequency electromagnetic radiation used in modern broadcasting devices could cause harm, we would be seeing similar sorts of harms at an extraordinary degree just from the visible light from the sun (and that’s disregarding the solar EM energy we know can cause harm, UV-spectrum EM energy).

    Last I checked, there was a decided lack of massive harm from the visible light spectrum.

    Put simply, if there is anyone on this thread engaged in religious-style thinking, it is the one who continues to claim that an exposure one-millionth the potency of a relatively harmless form of energy is more likely to cause harm.

    • deever says:

      No, Composer’, I addressed your dose-response thing well enough there, look and see. While analogies are made from chemical contamination, even there there are sometimes demonstrated unexpected non-linear relationships. Did you ignore what Panagopoulos said in summary that I brought as an example? I can bring you example quotes by eminent researchers about “windows” etc from many years ago already as well. There is this no “obstacle” as you put it. Rather, we should all be in awe of what we are facing, and work hard & fast together on replacements. There should be no illusion that these will have all the facilities cell telephony etc offer you now, but there is no telling what other benefits will ensue (i can certainly think of many, especially if the public process is reformed drastically).

      Your mental graphing is rather strange. Have a look at a neat real graph at .
      While one can dream about human exploitation of the non-atmospherically-opaque spectrum, as has proceeded with some enormous benefit, one must face now finally that the cost is too great. From an equally available perspective looking at that graph, exquisite bio-electric dependencies in our world might depend on the clarity of that swath of spectrum. What makes people confident that any interference whatsoever is not harmful? You brought up an environmental perspective — good, you should know that this is by nature complex, and cannot be approached in the manner of some other scientific pursuits. It is humbling indeed. But when there is closer working together of physicists, engineers with those of more ecological bent, the result might be a harmony not available in our living context where muscular interests have dominated, making our livelihood world warlike.

      Your invocation of religion is bizarre.

      • John Greg says:

        Composer99 said:

        “Put simply, if there is anyone on this thread engaged in religious-style thinking, it is the one who continues to claim that an exposure one-millionth the potency of a relatively harmless form of energy is more likely to cause harm.”

        deeverant replied:

        “Your invocation of religion is bizarre.”

        Deevey, Baby! Referencing religious-style thinking is not, in any way, shape, or form, invoking religion. Do you not know that? Or are you just, for the umpteenth time, trying to redirect and defocus the debate?

        I have the irreducibley simplex thought that deever’s near-illiterate postings, overflowing as they are with horrendous grammar, very poor spelling, lazy keyboarding, extremely sloppy sentence structure, etc., ad infintum (and his concurrent insistence that he need do nothing to correct these problems so as to clarify his opaque and obscure arguments), are simply a clear reflection of his comprehension skills and thought processes.

        NB: If that statement is unfairly ad hominem, then Michael, or whomever, please feel free to remove it without notification.

      • deever says:

        “Deevey, Baby! Referencing religious-style thinking is not, in any way, shape, or form, invoking religion. Do you not know that? Or are you just, for the umpteenth time, trying to redirect and defocus the debate?”

        Greggie-pooh, it is invoking such in either of two ways, as one of you folks’ hapless foam bats with which to beat religious (whacking your moles, see last thread), or indirectly evincing such yourselves, if you’ll recall my religious surrogate charge here earlier.

        And I don’t know how many is ump, but there is no redirection, I conceive of this as the broad & deep issue that it is. It is only by unjustified and unjust narrowing and by omissions allowed by excluding a comprehensive view, that stuff gets skipped over that does indeed impinge on the issue more directly at hand (from talk about things like perjury & fraud & threat to environmental thinking, all mentioned already). Look straight ahead, skeptos, that’s how i put it somewhere on this page already.

        Sharp criticism need not be accompanied by self-blinkering.

        “If that statement is unfairly ad hominem” — just as predicted, and even requested to make the case on the side of right better by contrast, leave it in, Michael.

      • Composer99 says:


        Your reply in the Levitt & Lai thread was only tangentially related to the substance of my comment in that thread. So no, you did not address it at all. Indeed, you admitted as much in that thread (see here).

        There are no substances in the universe that I am aware of which are more harmful when you cut down exposure by a factor of one million.

        And as for:

        Your invocation of religion is bizarre.

        Please note in your comment above you state:

        the more I spend time among skeptos, the more evidence I see that their simplistic views of science & rationality do service as religious surrogate

        The graph you link to is irrelevant. What is relevant is the energy level of the different wavelengths of EM energy; my emphasis being that the energy of visible light is vastly greater than that of the EM energy used in wireless technology.

        As such, save for thermal effects from EM energy (which aren’t very strong in wireless devices) areand the unusual case of lasers (which wireless devices do not in any way resemble) there is little reason to expect harm from wireless technology.

      • John Greg says:

        deever said:

        “… it is invoking such in either of two ways, as one of you folks’ hapless foam bats with which to beat religious (whacking your moles, see last thread), or indirectly evincing such yourselves, if you’ll recall my religious surrogate charge here earlier.”

        Um, does anyone understand that? Honestly, I don’t. “… deever’s near-illiterate postings….” etc.

  18. Composer99 says:

    My apologies to all for the double reference to the other thread in separate paragraphs.

  19. Sandra says:

    First of all, these two critics are obviously from the technology industry and have an interest in saying RF/MW is not harmful. If it is harmful — people will be wary around electronic equipment, and no tech prof wants that…

    The 2 Large Danish cohort studies (Schüz, Johansen, same group), both of which used the same population – have several major setbacks:

    Exposure misclassification and Dilution of risk – yes, they used registries, but only of people who had phones listed on their own names. So people who had phones listed on Company names — were not included. Now who speaks more? People who have a “company phone” and use it for work may well speak more than others — but these were not included – dilution of exposure group.

    More dilution of risk– people who used their phone once a week for half an hour were considered “exposed”. would you call that a substantial exposure? and they were not put into a different category (less exposed), all those exposed were analyzed together — so the ones with minimal exposures could theoretically “pull the exposure group down”.

    Also, if you define those who use the phone for only half an hour a week (total) as “exposed” – are you sure you can clearly differentate between these and people who are considered “not exposed”? (like those who used the cellphone only 15 minutes a week?)

    Long-term phone use was not checked well enough here– only 3% of the cancer patients had used acellphone over 10 years. Cancer is a disease which has a latency period. If you don’t wait long enough… well surprise surprise, you won’t find anything – wow…

    The other major epi researchers in the field are Hardell’s group (independent group from Sweden) and the INTERPHONE study group (13 countries, many researchers -see authors’ ref 12 Cardis et al – , all working on exactly the same protocol) – and funded mostly by the cellphone industry. Many of the other articles are analyses, meta-analyses and opinions of these group’s results.

    Hardell’s methods criticized??? On the contrary, Hardell’s methods have been praised as solid!

    Interphone study methids are the ones which have been criticized. In Cardis’s summary article of all the 13 country interphone group studies, the researchers themselves acknowledge that some of their results were slightly odd (protective effect of cellphones against cancer?)- and they say this could be as a result of problems in their study design and methods.
    They were very quick to say that all this long research means nothing, to spray more sand in everyone’s eyes and go on to the next industry-funded research. In the meantime all you guys will but new cellphones and everyone will be happy and exposed…

    INTERPHONE study (Cardis, Takebayashi, Sadetzki, Klaeboe, Lahkola, Lönn, Hepworth, Schüz- same danish guy, Berg, Christensen…) used the same method of recruitment as the Danish group — anyone who was used a cellphone for half an hour a week was in. Same as before— dilution of exposure and difficulty to define between exposed/non exposed.

    They recruited people only from city areas — although it is known that people who live out of town are actually exposed to higher radiation when talking on the phone, because their antennas are far apart so the phone “works harder”

    Ages — around 30-59 in most INTERPHONE studies.

    Laterality was not always assessed.

    Blinding – these were not blind studies – people were interviewed, so it was relatively easy to tell who has brain cancer…

    Another interesting factor is that a very large percentage of people recruited, over 40%, refused to participate in the control group! Someone checked this info (Lonn) and found that most of the poeple who refused to participate were NOT cellphone users, so had no interest in the study. Those who DID participate WERE cellphone users (remember the 10-15 minutes-a -week people?) — so was there really a clear cut distinction between exposed and non-exposed??

    But even with all this “noise” in the methods — most of these groups found *some* excess risk in subgroups which used the phone over 10 years, “heavy” use. Generally, interphone researchers dismiss these subgoup results as unimportant.
    In the summary article – cardis et al say that the use of cellphone for 5 hrs a day doesn’t make any sense (nobody can talk that much, right?) — so these subgroup results mean nothing. Yeah… persuasive.

    On the other hand, why did I say Hardell’s methods have been praised? Hardell is actually well known for his solid methods – this is summing up from several of his group’s articles:

    Exposure Classification – well defined groups of users – cellphones, mobile phones, analogue, digital, groups by hours of use.

    Ages – younger and older people checked too (20-80).

    Laterality – always checked difference between people who used cellphone on one side only or two sides.

    Over 80% participation in control group — and these were not exposed to mobile phones at home either.

    Careful examination of histological diagnosis of cases.

    Including info of people (cases) who died from cancer.

    a more substantial amount of people have been using cellphones over 10 yrs.

    And it is iteresting to see, that in Hardell’s first articles, he didn’t find much, but as he continues followups, more and more brain cancers…

    Groups at risk:
    having begun to use cellphone at younger age
    Use cellphone on one side of head
    Use over 10 years
    Heavy users – many hours of use a day

    So – to sum all this

    If you have begun to use cellphones at an early age (before 20), use it on one side of the head, for some hours a day, and have been using it over 10 years — YOU HAD BETTER CUT DOWN, FOLKS

    p.s. I am a physician and my interest is public health. In hospitals you see many more people with brain cancer than in the past.
    Let’s just imagine Hardell and Davis are right, even partly right — wouldn’t you rather protect your kids than go about bashing the people warning you of the risk???? You aren’t making all that money, cellphone companies are — why do you all go on and protect them??? Let them sweat and make safer products for our use.

    • deever says:

      Bravo, Sandra, for stepping up, it’s been lonely here among these types. You are motivating me to take apart the German cell mast study Trottier & co keep trotting out, to compare with the plentiful ones damning prolonged cell mast exposure. I expect to receive a full copy soon of the Belo Horizonte study showing 80% of cancer deaths in that city in relative proximity to cell masts; and I did a summary translation of Eger’s Selbitz study, best such study yet, corroborating broad symptomatic exacerbation with proximity, but there is now a full translation online.

      Now, I do not know if you were motivated to put some of these skeptos in their place, at least regarding what you directly addressed (I also referred them to others’ similar criticisms, but I doubt there was much follow up by the blinkered), or you were motivated to defend Davis — if your interest is in the latter, well, and even if not, I urge you to add your voice to those very unhappy that Davis mostly deliberately ignores cell mast dangers. You, too, in your way, might be appealing for “safer cell phones”– maybe by use eg of Litowitz’ noise insertion proposal?– but please reconsider that such safety may be unattainable, esp. if infrastructure issues remain unaddressed. I also hope that, assuming you are a physician in Canada (or US for that matter), you will be quickly sharing your concerns with your colleagues, preferably to come together to make a loud public declaration along the lines of what has already been done by some medical groups in Europe over the past decade, and not merely calling fro safer cell use or safer phones.

    • Michael Kruse says:

      Thank you Sandra, for your much more rational input to this conversation. This will make me look at the study again, and I will certainly take your criticisms of the study very seriously (they look sound to me and should definitely make us pause before drawing larger conclusions.)

      As to the supposed rise in the incidence of brain tumors, a quick search (very quick) on pubmed confirms this fact, but there is no evidence that increased RF radiation is the cause.

      Keep up the criticism, Sandra. Sober, scientific minds like yours are what we need. I may not agree with everything you say, and you may not agree with me, but the debate is important and I am open to changing my mind.

      As to “protecting” the cell phone industry, that is not my goal. I wish to promote critical thinking and the scientific method, which includes building a consensus about a topic. The anti-corporate rhetoric is not a good enough reason alone to abandon the conclusions of scientists. We know that privately funded studies have a higher incidence of bias and we should be very wary of them but it should not cause us to throw them out without looking at them critically first.

      I say this as a card-carrying NDP lefty who is in favour of restrictions on capitalism and the free market to protect the public and ensure the fair distribution of wealth. This also puts me on the side of strong government oversight – I trust bureaucratic institutions, if not the politicians who run them, and the scientists that my tax dollars pay for.

      Thank you for your opinion. I will take a look at the Hardell data, although he is still using questionnaire data and given the long latency period, recall is a problem, is it not? What we really need is a study based on the actual call records from several different carriers over the last 10-15 years and then do a cohort study before we can draw any conclusions.

      The bigger question is: do we stop all cell phone use in the mean time or limit it for children? I don’t know. The consensus is no, this is not necessary. As a non-scientist I have to go with the consensus but be open to other ideas (see Erik Davis’ excellent articles on this site on how to choose who to believe for an idea of my position)


    • Lorne Trottier says:

      The Danish study did not include business users simply because the cell phone records of the individuals were not available. All individuals who pay their own cell phone bills were included. Maybe they use their cell phones less than corporate users. But if there were any health risk in using cell phones, it would still show up in the numbers.
      There are more than 4 billion cell phones in use worldwide. Brain cancer is one of the rarest forms of cancer – it ranks #15 in Canada. If there were even a slight risk of cell phones causing this form of cancer, it would show up in the incidence rates. It does not.

  20. deever says:

    Since Hardell’s work has been at issue, and I just came across the following again, let me quote Milham’s memoirs:
    Unfortunately, funding sources for EMF research has completely dried up in the [US], unlike in Europe and other countries. We have also lost a whole generation of young investigators in university, private, and government labs who were forced into other research areas by the lack of money to support this important research. Industry and cell pone money have corrupted the research process, politicians, the media, and the government. After my generation of investigators have moved on, there will be nobody to take our place in the [US].

    Ultimately, to get a real handle on the problem, we will have to rethink how we distribute electricity and communicate. Getting rid of wireless forms of communication is a logical first step. I predict that when the latency periods [...] for brain tumours have been achieved, we are in for a calamitous epidemic of cell phone-induced brain tumours.

    With rare exceptions, such as Lennart Hardell’s work in Europe, most of the cell phone brain tumour epidemiology is of such low quality that it doesn’t merit publication. With non-participation rates among controls around 50 percent, it is impossible to have any confidence in study resulst. I suspect that cell phone money has compromised both the investigators and the journals.

  21. Michael Kruse says:


    After some digging we have found the national trends of brain CA in Canada:

    The trends for all cancers can be found on page 51 and the trend for brain cancer incidence from 1997 to 2007 was negative:
    Incidence change -0.7% males, -1.1% females


  22. Sandra says:

    Thanks Michael. I do not have much time to spend on answering blogs, but some input was needed here.

    I did not mean that you *personally* are protecting the cellphone industry.
    The general trend is that industry which has money can pay scientists to research things which forward their interest, while “small scientists” who work in university settings or even private settings are attacked, lose their positions and their funding. It’s very very difficult to get funding for a research which challenges these “mainstream” views, because powerful people have an interest that this will not be done. I myself am working on a reasearch on biological effects of EMF on the body (hence the interest), in University settings, and so far without any grants…

    The same thing happened in the past with other hazardous substances (nicotine, asbestos, pesticides). Davis is a leading voice in this regard, who has chosen to continue shouting and exposing despite intimidation from all sides, and I respect her for it. But there are many others like her, who do not yell as loudly, and still share the doubts.
    Michael, sharing your somewhat social view of this, you should be aware that many of these government bodies giving out the “mainstream” recommendations almost always have members which also work (and are well paid) as consultants to industry – there are very famous examples of this. So we may end up becoming slightly paranoid about who to trust — but the main thing is to keep “sober” as you say, and keep balance– not only distrusting those who cry out about risk, also not following blindly those who say there is no risk.

    Regarding recall bias- I cannot ignore the fact that there may be some of that, but if a study is otherwise well defined, people are divided into exposure classification groups in a sensible way and you don’t see silly things like ignoring the data if the patient died(!) – then I wouldn’t disqualify a good study just because of some possible recall bias.

    Deever and michael –Regarding cell phone use for children — this is not only “safer use of cellphones”, it is about biological plausibility of risk from putting a radar right next to your head and switching it on.
    Personally, I follow Hardell’s warning regarding risk at younger age – and treat cellphone as possibly hazardous for children. Not hysterical if they use from time to time, but they don’t carry a phione around, nor use a home mobile phone — back to regular landline. WiFi’s , which are the same RF/MWs, should also be switched off at night — even if there is **no proof** why radiate your family in their sleep?? Just to show the “extremists” are wrong?

    • Kim Hebert says:

      “it is about biological plausibility of risk from putting a radar right next to your head and switching it on. Personally, I follow Hardell’s warning regarding risk at younger age – and treat cellphone as possibly hazardous for children.”

      What is the plausibility of getting into a car accident, resulting in an injury or fatality? Are you going to stop driving? Stop letting children get on the bus to school?

      Car accidents are a known risk. EMF is not proven to have any significant ill-effects. Yet people accept the risk of motor vehicle transport every day without question, even while adding additional hazards such as texting or speaking on a cellphone, while refusing to let a child have a cellphone?

    • Dianne Sousa says:


      I’m going to echo Kim here and point out that not all cautionary actions are rational.

      You said “…even if there is **no proof** why radiate your family in their sleep??” If you make a decision in the absence of the evidence that you need to inform your decision, you have no way of predicting whether the decision you made is the right one. It’s not rational to turn of your wifi at night unless and until you can show the presence of a risk to having it on. Further, even if you can establish that there is a risk (which has not been done), your decision is rational only if it is informed by the size of the risk. As Kim pointed out, there is no known risk of exposure to wifi/EMF/cell phones but there is known risk to children in cars. Does it make sense to continue transporting your children in vehicles but turn off the wifi at night?

      So, why expose your family to unknown risk? Because the current evidence suggests that there is no risk. Ask a different question. Why not expose your family when there is no reason to believe that they will be harmed?

      I’m interested in a few points that you mentioned. You said that you’re a physician doing research in a University setting on EMF. Can you provide us a few more details? What hypothesis are you testing?

      Frankly, I’m wondering about why you don’t seem concerned that Devra Davis has made critical mistakes and ommisions that weaken her argument significantly (and I think I’m being generous here). I don’t think that being partly right in the end will excuse her misinformation. Why have respect for a person who is not careful about being correct first before spreading doubt? What you call intimidation is really Davis being called out on her mistakes.

      • Erik Davis says:

        Just a small point — the arguments against over-reliance on the precautionary principle are based on the fact that in the vast majority of cases, that precaution carries risks of its own, i.e. not doing something can be more dangerous than doing something. So, for example, chlorinating a water supply may have some potential (if extremely small) risks, but not chlorinating isn’t a good alternative because it exposes you to water-borne infectious diseases like typhoid, dysentery, hep-a and cholera.

        I’m not sure this applies, in most cases, to turning off wifi at night. There’s really no cost to doing it unless you receive critical 3am emails.

        That said, mine’s on 24/7 because I don’t see any benefit either given the overwhelming consensus opinion, and the inconvenience for me outweighs the (unproven / likely zero) benefit.

      • deever says:

        It seems that in public health three main rubrics are precaution (the “principle”), “prudent avoidance” & “alara”. It is past the point of precaution, so little point in invoking that, although that be favoured by many even most advocates (mostly with less exposure to the history on the issue).
        Avoidance is the basis of Toronto Public Health’s old policy, e.g., adopted in the 90s, decisive for which, however, was FM radio studies re insomnia. The bias against broad entertainment of evidence had set in by then, but that was enough to disturb TPH to differ from Health (Death) Canada’s approach. Yet their 100x less avoidance is not rational either except on their narrow evidentiary basis. But avoidance should be the order of the day. As for “as low as reasonable achievable” (if that’s the acronym’s fuller spread), that is what France is supposed to be testing toward, after their govt. hearings and court cases and political agitation and many activist/advocacy groups and above all doctors spekaing out for very many sick people. But that still accepts that one must lean in some way to favouring deployments, which is wrong if you take into account enough of what has transpired. It is not reasonable to expect strong roll-back of the madness in the circumstances of mass misinformation, but it is unreasonable to not seek far more than so-called “safer” cell phone use.

        So how Diane can talk of “absence of evidence” is itself an instantiation of that mass misinformation, leading to the talk about precaution by only slightly better informed.

        “It’s not rational to turn of your wifi at night unless and until you can show the presence of a risk to having it on” — what is not rational is to talk about risk in this way (much like it is not raional for advocates to say, “we are concerned” — there are plenty of “facts” to learn, no need to be emotive in mere “concern”, that is just what perpetrators want, vent some emotion and leave it at that). Further, what is the point of transmitting anything when not in use? Do you get the mass waste associated with cell telephony itself, braodcasting all the time evrywhere on the off chance a user might be here, or there, or there. It’s this insane misuse of energy, heaping up precisely when the general public seems to be cluing in more of necessity on more careful disposition of energy usage.

        Diane is not being “generous” at all re Davis. Trottier has nothing to diminish the thrust of her book, the main usefulness of which, I repeat, is the wider airing of fraud undergirding this industry. There seems to be an unshakable acquiescence by some skeptos in establishment frameworks — a fear of applying full skepticism perhaps, which leads to that religious surrogate thing I have noted.

      • deever says:

        Erik, no matter how many times you retreat to the comfort of
        turning away from what’s imperceptible without more diligent examination, quantifications like “extremely small” & “likely zero” etc don’t cut it. Risk analysis is also illegitimate where basic valuations are absent, I repeat. How this is lost on “rational” people requires a self-examination I see there is an “extremely small, likely zero” chance of among some skeptos.

  23. Sandra says:

    I looked at the link but could not fuind the specific data you wrote on brain cancer.

  24. Sandra says:

    Last one for today — I am gald to hear general trends are down in Canada– when I see data I will check, but in our medical settings we see many cancer patients who were exposured to EMF-emitting radiation, either from cellphpnes or other electronic devices. They are flowing in…

    • deever says:

      0″flowing in”

      Indeed. The epidemic predicted has commenced. When neurosurgeons like Khurana & Teo cry out, extended hospital facilities are built for this, insurance pulls out long ago, the best (not skeptos’ “best”) “epi” studies
      point to grave danger, the major “alarmists” guess eventual 10% brain tumours worldwide, & on & on. It is very hard to remove from one’s thoughts that Trottier eg is in some way close to telecomonster abettors. Sandra seems then to have buddies among the skeptos, so go gentle with them if you will. Me, no way!

      As for Kim Hebert’s risk analyst’s special, invoking cars (I did it myself above, somewhat apologetically as I recall), there are so many ways this is wrong, I don’t know where to start. At HESA a hapless Habash was reduce to the same, after intimating that he thinks switching ears seems a good idea. Let’s just say, if thoroughly misplaced adulation of the internal combustion engine has led among other things to our ceding a % lung capacity, what % brain capacity (among other things) should a human be prepared to cede with wireless mania? Risk comparisons cannot be done at all when there is such alienation from basic valuations of bodily feeling & function.

      It might be hard for some of you to understand that sobriety & sense of balance can be had while acting expressive — this is one of those issues that opens up into description of comprehensive destructive social ills (“social view”, anyone?). The attempt at calm detachment I see among skeptos (which tellingly is defensively accompanied almost always by name-calling) all relies on assumptions of mainstream adequacies that completely undermine real balance.

      But maybe I can take my leave, since one of your own it seems has piped up on the side of right. Except, I say, never mind the stupid phone-to-head danger, that is so obvious to anyone who has looked at the history & literature of all types on topic, and esp. from close encounters with sufferers — yes, anecdotes to defeat intransigent dogmatosis. What is ignored is the infrastructure, I wonder what Sandra would say to Trottier’s inept attempt at trashing another recent publication here, the Lai & Levitt paper on mast dangers, where I was occupied earlier here.

      When will you physicians speak up! Why let it be slowly slowly one by one, why not as a group?

  25. Sandra says:

    Guys, I just came back here to check if there was something urgent — but really all these long responses are eating up an awful lot of my time. so if I don’t respond again soon, don’t take it personally.

    My own research is at a very early stage and I do not feel it is the time to open it up to a bunch of critics, yet, so you will have to leave that one for now.

    Look, if anyone does not want to take precaution, you are welcome to take any imaginary or non-imaginary risk in your own home, for yorselves, your family — that’s your business and your responsibility. Whether you consider this “rational” or not — who cares? I have reason to suspect there may be something in the warnings because I have read the literature. Maybe this will be proven wrong, but what do I have to lose by being cautious??? Cellphones for young kids are not a life-necessity, and neither is Wi-Fi while you are asleep… cellphone companies can wait to make a fortune on your kids when they are slightly older…

    BUT it is much worse if people are FORCED to be exposed against their will — I find that simply unethical.

    Regarding driving — oh, yes, that is certainly a risk!! This is absolutely one of the bigger risks in modern life! Sure.
    So — every person calculates their risks and chooses what to do. My kids know that when I park, or drive reverse, they must keep quiet, because there are many hazards on the road. Life is full of decisions and responsibilities. But again — nobody FORCES you to drive if you don’t want to!! Some don’t. so are they stupid? what makes you the judge of that?

    Regarding Davis and any mistakes she may have made — first of all, it is absurd to suppose that any person, however authoritative and professional, will not make SOME mistake…
    I do not find this option so terrible (that she may have made some mistake) because I realize that mistakes are part of life and are certainly part of science — which is conducted by humans, not G-d. This Trottier criticizing her so loudly — he has also made a bunch of mistakes — and he makes himself out as so authoritative and persuasive…

    But having gone and checked out much of this literature for myself, for my own research purposes and to give information to my patients, I have found that, in general, Davis is right about many things. Maybe you don’t like her tone, but much of the content is solid.

    For example, it is true that almost every article which checked cellphones and brain cancer, even those who IN GENERAL are NEGATIVE and found no excessive risk for the ENTIRE population, when looking at a specific (and small) subgroup who had used cellphones for over 10 years, and especially on one side of the head, did find at least some suggestion of excess risk.
    And it’s true that several large studies did not find this — but when you look in depth into their methods and explanations — I have already written this above — when you read the fine print, you see there is a reason why they did not find… or that some of the studies which are considered negative did find something, but in their opinion it was unimportant or irrelevant.

    Must you believe me? no.
    go out and read the literature for yourselves. but do it fairly.

    Some scientific “review” articles do not present new studies but are opinions and analyses of other people’s studies — and there are plenty of those shouting out that the results mean nothing, for many different reasons– so if you add up the absolute number of articles published, you may get to the conclusion that there are more who say no than yes.
    But what does it MEAN? That those that did find risk mean nothing? No, I absolutely disagree. They found what they found. “Mainstream” orgs may be unconvinced of risk — but have they proven to you that the opposite is correct?

    So there are people who wait for absolte proof and call everyone else “not rational”, while others may choose to be more cautious and protect their families and themselves in case there is risk.
    One thing is for sure. There are those who profit from keeping everyone else unsure and unconvinced.

    Deever, you say we doctors should speak up — I have seen many who do. But most physicians are not “Sharks” in the way lawyers or industry experts are.
    Certainly, many physicians today are more aware of potential risks, or add 2+2=4. Others — choose like the friends here– to sit back and wait for absolute hard evidence to accumulate (or not). Each person and his/her choice.

    An ENT specialist friend told me a few months ago in a corridor conversation that lately they have been operating on many more salivary glands and “acoustic neuromas” and it certainly raises a question whether this is related to cellphone use… But who am I to scare those who would rather say this is not statistically significant?

    That’s it folks, have fun tearing this apart, I must get back to work.

    • deever says:

      “that’s your business and your responsibility” — no, Sandra, it is not that alone! We all pay for such errors, do we not? Surely doctors do not need the revenue from all the extra sick people “flowing in” this way …however, this is what will clue us all, one hopes, eventually into that our ENTIRE use & abuse of EMR, ELF and up, underlies so much of the mystery of 20th century disease, as the issue opens up into so much else also from political, financial, military on down (I’d say even spiritual, but I’m guessing a lot of atheist & such around here…)

      “BUT it is much worse if people are FORCED to be exposed against their will — I find that simply unethical.” — Bravo again, as this leads into the most pressing issue of passive cell mast radiation exposures. “Low” level, long time…big danger.

      “nobody FORCES you to drive if you don’t want to” – they’ll jump on that one, no one forces cell/wifi/etc use; but 2nd hand radiation exposure can be likened a bit to all the disruptions of catering to the car, incl. inhalation-related etc; so i am forced to cope with everyone else’s mad subscription to car mania, but as i intimated earlier, cell phone etc is worse!

      “but have they proven to you that the opposite is correct” — you’re going to get the “can’t prove a negative” thing

      “There are those who profit from keeping everyone else unsure and unconvinced. ” — I drew attention several times to my comment at a book review here on tobacco etc, as well as have recommended several topical books on similar history around exploitation of bioeffect uncertainty. No takers here.

      “doctors should speak up — I have seen many who do.” — I’d love a list, there are Canadians literally dying because they cannot find an MD or group of MDs who’ll speak up. There are now a handful who have been made known to advocates & sufferers. I expect professional pressures, esp. in Canada, keep MDs silent publicly.`As soon as an MD speaks up sensibly, their words are grabbed by desperate people. At hESA, MP Carolyn Bennett, MD, lamented that as far as she knows MDs don’t even know what questions to ask. (But a a Liberal politician, she typically evaded involvement.)This is changing, but far too slowly. Leading edge would be Dr Belpomme, eg, in France. But MDs speaking as a group, as have German, Dutch, Irish eg MD groups, would make a HUGE difference.

      “certainly raises a question whether this is related to cellphone use” — frankly, sorry, tell your friend only an idiot would think otherwise; but this doesn’t go anywhere into the long term brain & behavioural effects. Even military & clandestine operators have info on what frequencies, pulse rates etc do what to people.

      Did I say what got me so plunged into all this, after intuitively avoiding wireless mania with our household always? Only an idiot would have concluded that what was decisively behind the adult-onset epileptic seizures of someone close to us, would be attributable otherwise than to cell phone & allied radiation, esp. from towers. After a torturous 1&1/2 years of trying to figure out what was going on, this person finally hit upon that when relatively isolated from towers (remember, not a user), no seizures; re-exposed, seizures. A great deal of research, some of which i have tried to share with even the incurious here, made very clear that our mostly intuitive avoidance was vindicated
      to an extent unimaginable. I cannot forbear from sounding the alarm, even at the cost of having to wade through what goes on here. Wake up, people! There are other ways for humans to communicate, and the quickly you & enough others get with it, the quicker alternatives should arise, some already nascent. More important, great suffering will have been curtailed, even if we will not have put Sandra et al out of work.

      • John Greg says:

        you are becoming incoherent. I think it might be time to take a time out.

      • deever says:

        The only incoherence here, John Greg, is with skeptics’ self-limitation in depth of probing, making you effective cheerleaders for establishment crookedness. Some vaunted organizations, themselves self-limited by culture or threat, have constant appeal among “skeptics”. So double the self-limitation. There is an almost endless learned literature on the dangers of wireless, to back up what so many are crying out about, suffering and dying. “Mechanisms” may not ever be adequately describable under current rubrics. Until you can imagine that things can have been so horribly hijacked, away from prioritizing public & environmental health like this, it is not likely skeptos will go anywhere useful with this. At least those of you like Trottier & Thoms should discontinue their misinformation & tirades.

      • Lorne Trottier says:

        Most of the studies Sandra refers to were done by the same individual: Dr Lennart Hardell. His studies have been widely criticized because they were based on memory. Individuals diagnosed with brain cancer were asked to fill in questionnaires to report how much they had used cell phones over their lifetimes. Their responses were compared with those of healthy “controls”. Studies of this type suffer from many limitations. The most serious is “recall bias”. A person with brain cancer may well exaggerate past cell phone us. This will lead to skewed results.

  26. deever says:

    See Trottier get more comeuppance in comments after his Amazon review of Davis’ book. If a SkeptoNorth can still respect Trottier’s view after all this and all that…

  27. Lorne Trottier says:

    A version of my review of the book Disconnect has been posted on the website Science Based Medicine:
    My review includes references to four studies that have looked the incidence of brain cancer. These studies show that brain cancer incidence rates have been constant since the introduction of cell phones in the mid 1980′s for all age groups. For example, another Danish study looked at incidence rates by age group in 5 Northern European countries. No significant change in brain cancer rates were found for any age group. A recent US study came to a similar conclusion. See references 14 – 17 of my review.

  28. Sandra says:

    I suggest you guys check out the latest review, conducted by two of the Interphone Study researchers. One of these was the overall director of the interphone study and first author of the summary article (Elisabeth Cardis).

    The authors discuss many possible biases of their and other people’s studies and their general conclusion is that on the basis of the studies conducted to-date, no one can truthfully say the use of cellphones has been proven to be safe.
    On the contrary, the use of cellphones in sub-groups with high use over a long time does raise the concern of possible risk for tumors, even if a low risk — but when there is a large population it could be “a considerable public health risk”.

    Read their paper — this is a brave step on their side.
    Cardis E, Sadetzki S. Occup Environ Med (2010). doi:10.1136/oem.2010.061358

    • Art Tricque says:

      Sandra, thanks for bringing this paper to light.

      “…no one can truthfully say the use of cellphones has been proven to be safe.” No one *ever* can say *anything* can be proven to be safe. It is a logical let alone a scientific impossibility. Whenever one sees such language, one can be sure that those using it are either well-meaning but ignorant, or are trying to be deliberately deceptive, as the general public are generally unaware of the impossibility.

      As to the paper itself, “brave” is not the adjective that is appropriate. It merely rehashes the same arguments yet again that took place during the Interphone debate: the information is nothing new. The simply keeps the fears alive by the statistically perilous sifting through sub-groups. It offers no additional core evidence, and none can be offered until further large, long-term epidemiological studies that build on Interphone are completed.

  29. deever says:

    “none can be offered until further large, long-term epidemiological studies that build on Interphone are completed”

    Is it lost on this commenter, the obscenity of reliance on epidemiology to judge safety, in the historic context of a century of a culture of getting-away-with-what-one-can & i-don’t care (asbestos, tobacco, etc etc etc etc etc)?

    Here is the latest on these issues, not re an “epi”, , out of the US even for a change.

    From the paper’s conclusion:
    In summary, this study provides evidence that in humans RF-EMF exposure from cell phone use affects brain function, as shown by the regional increases in metabolic activity. It also documents that the observed effects were greatest in brain regions that had the highest amplitude of RF-EMF emissions (for the specific cell phones used in this study and their position relative to the head when in use), which suggests that the metabolic increases are secondary to the absorption of RF-EMF energy emitted by the cell phone.

    It has always seemed to clear to me, from casual observation of heavy users, that there is a physical addiction component. This paper adds some possible accounting for that. Do disregard her way too conservative recommendations, although perhaps that is all she’d say based on her findings alone.


  1. [...] helposti muunkinlaisia mielipiteitä, esimerkiksi kanadalainen Skeptic North kirjoittaa sivuillaan: Devra Davis: Disconnected from Science [...]

  • Michael Kruse

    Michael is an advanced-care paramedic in York Region, just north of Toronto, Ontario. A semi-retired theatrical lighting designer as well, he re-trained in 2005 as an EMT-PS at the University of Iowa and as an ACP at Durham College, and is currently working towards a B.Sc at the University of Toronto. Michael is a founder and the chair of the board of directors of Bad Science Watch. He is also the recipient of the first annual Barry Beyerstein Award for Skepticism. Follow Michael on twitter @anxiousmedic. Michael's musings are his own and do not necessarily represent those of his employer or Bad Science Watch.