• 15 JUN 06
    • 0

    #490: New paper on WHO/ICNIRP and conflict of interest

    Notice:

    A new paper titled, “Conflict of Interest and Bias in Health Advisory Committees: A case study of the WHO’s EMF Task Group” is now available on the EMFacts web site:

    https://www.emfacts.com/papers/who_conflict.pdf

    It is published in the latest Journal of the Australasian College of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine, Vol. 21 No. 1, pages 15-17, April 2006

    Introduction

    The potential problem of conflicts-of-interest biasing outcomes in papers submitted to bio-medical journals, including papers published in journals by expert advisory bodies, was an issue addressed by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors in November 3003. To quote from their “Uniform Requirements”:

    “Conflict of interest exists when an author (or the author’s institution), reviewer, or editor has financial or personal relationships that inappropriately influence (bias) his or her actions. . . The potential for conflict of interest can exist whether or not an individual believes that the relationship affects his or her scientific judgement. Financial relationships . . . are the most easily identifiable conflicts of interest and the most likely to undermine the credibility of the journal, the authors, and of science itself.” (1)

    This paper briefly examines this problem, using recent actions taken by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International EMF Project and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

    In both organisations the case is presented that maintaining independence from industry vested interests is essential for maintaining scientific objectivity and credibility in giving expert advice on public health matters.

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