#967: Senseless about Science
Dr Damien Downing, ANH Medical Director
8th October 2008
This Monday, 6th October, the Today programme on Radio 4 aired a 4-minute
debate on whether wi-fi, mobile phone masts and other sources of radio waves
were harmful to health . The idea was rejected by Elaine Fox, a
psychologist who helped to write a pamphlet by the “˜charity”™ (more a
lobbying group) Sense About Science, claiming that allegations of adverse
health effects from electromagnetic fields and radio waves were
“˜scaremongering”™, and contended by Michael Bevington of Electrosensitivity
Bevington justifiably claimed that there are many scientific papers that
show adverse effects from EMFs etc, and Fox was left slightly on the back
foot saying that only double-blind, placebo-controlled trials should be
considered””which is hardly a valid point (because there are many), more a
delaying tactic. Sense About Science is an overtly pro-corporate body,
chaired by Lib Dem peer Dick Taverne, who has said, scarily, that the
precautionary principle””the reasonable principle of “˜prove it”™s safe before
we use it, don”™t wait to prove it”™s unsafe afterwards”™””is “˜the cowardice of
a pampered society”™.
The story of Sense About Science is bizarre and amazing in itself, and well
worth the read “” George Monbiot, for one, has written on this. But for good
data on the real effects of EMFs, the Bioinitiative Report is an excellent
There is an interesting left-brain/right-brain issue here; the familiar
left-brain (logical, abstract) attitude to such issues is to say “˜we need to
prove this correlation conclusively with more studies”™. The right-brain
(community-based, integrative) answer is “˜it happened in this case so it can
happen; we should protect ourselves and our children”™. Corporate advocates
such as Sense About Science will always argue for more research; meanwhile
industry will continue to make its profits, and people may continue to
become ill as a result.
This 21st November the ANH”™s partner organisation, the British Society for
Ecological Medicine, hosts a major conference on Multiple Chemical
Sensitivity and Electro-Hypersensitivity. Speakers will consider both
physical and psychological aspects of the problem. As a scientific society
we seek the truth on this, and are not an advocate group with a pre-fixed
answer; we welcome debate, and attendees of all viewpoints are welcome.
Click here for more details on the British Society for Ecological Medicine.
Once again we see industry profits being put before the health and welfare
of the individual. In our opinion there is irrefutable evidence that EMR,
at frequencies commonly used in Europe, has a deleterious effect on health.
Much like the tobacco industry tried to tell us smoking was good for us””and
we’ve all seen where that road has led””now we’re being told that there
really is no danger from EMR. That’s all very well now whilst industry is
raking in the profits, but what happens in ten years time when our cancer
rates have spiralled exponentially? No matter how much you win in the law
courts, it can’t give you your health back.
In order for you to make up your own mind we urge you to read The
BioInitiative Report, re-read our news story from 18th September, detailing
the two petitions we’ve submitted to the European Parliament Petitions
Committee””one of them on the urgent need for a full review into safe
thresholds for EMR in Europe and read the release from UK campaign group,
Mast Sanity on this latest scientific travesty from Sense About Science.
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