• 04 FEB 18
    • 0

    Disinformation and the NTP study findings

    From William B Grant on the CHEscience blog

    The Disinformation Playbook has been used for decades by corporations to delay government action on matters of great public interest that would adversely affect their income and profit. Some of the well-known examples involve the sugar industry, tobacco, oil and gas, and the National Football League. The Union of Concerned Scientists outlined the five pillars of the Playbook


    1. The Fake: Conduct counterfeit science and try to pass it off as legitimate research

    2. The Blitz: Harass scientists who speak out with results or views inconvenient for industry

    3. The Diversion: Manufacture uncertainty about science where little or none exists

    4. The Screen: Buy credibility through alliances with academia or professional societies

    5. The Fix: Manipulate government officials or processes to inappropriately influence policy


    Now for the “Breaking News” spin from MEDPAGE TODAY on the NTP study

    “Cell Phone Radiation Unlikely to Cause Cancer – Rare cancer in rats likely not an issue for humans”



    And a comment on the Medpage article from Barb Payne on the CHEscience blog:

    Wow, quite an irresponsible choice of headline, considering the article includes:

    Bucher and colleagues suggested that the evidence for malignant schwannomas met the risk classification standard of “some evidence of carcinogenic activity.” That descriptor ranked just below the highest standard, “clear evidence of carcinogenic activity.” The schwannoma evidence is “the strongest cancer finding in our study,” said Bucher.

    Yesterday, Bucher didn”t explain the exposure regimen at all the same as he did when NTP did the partial release in 2016 “” even though yesterday there were easily several opportunities to properly describe it. It”s something like this: for 2 years the exposed animals throughout 18 hours each day alternated between 10-minutes of radiation then 10-minutes of no radiation, and the remaining 6-hour period each day was no radiation. That’s far different than what a lot of readers would imply from seeing/hearing that described as “over 9 hours a day for over 2 years” and “Radiation exposure began in utero and continued for 2 years.” Knowing the details of that exposure regimen, it doesn”t seem very transparent, nor scientific, nor appropriate for the NTP spokesperson to publicize such an overarching subjective statement such as the sentence at the end of the following quote, and especially as the NTP spokespersons also yesterday expressed, more than once, that they are not exposure experts: “We studied the maximum that one could achieve during a call in a poorer-connection situation. We studied it over 9 hours a day for over 2 years. This is a situation, obviously, that people are not going to be encountering in utilizing cell phones. It’s a situation that allows us to find a potential biological event if one is going to occur. I think the message is that typical cell phone use is not going to be directly related to the kind of exposure we used in these studies.”

    For those who don”t realize: it is not uncommon for a human cell phone user to be in a “poorer-connection situation,” and that situation depends not at all solely on the network”s radiation signal footprint is strong where the user is.

    Barb Payne


    SO, is it the best of accurate science reporting for Medpage Today to thus infer in the article heading that the NTP findings are “not an issue for humans”?


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