• 11 OCT 08
    • 0

    #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 [1]. 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
    reference [2].

    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.

    1 http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_7653000/7653965.stm
    2 http://www.bioinitiative.org

    ANH Comment
    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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