The Daubert standard in court is supposed to insure that science is valid. However, the standard fails miserably by saying validity is proven by a "consensus" among scientists. Consensus is a poor measure when scientific understanding adapts based on new discoveries. And by hiring science-for-hire hacks, such as profiled by the Center for Public Integrity, industry can insure scientific consensus never exists and the Daubert standard, if applied like hell, can easily deny all toxic torts.
This is why the Precautionary Principle needs to exist. Instead of running around asking about risk, we should be asking about safety. If you ask if XYZ is safe, then a response such as we cannot be certain or we need more research is appropriate. To a question about danger, such a response can be twisted to deny protection. Science and technology is becoming increasingly complex, such that understanding the effects may be out of reach of citizens. In a democracy, and according to common sense, safety should be proven before a product is placed on the market.
Then there's science, which seems to be reluctant to define risk precisely while research continues and understanding evolves, though that is what a judge would want. The National Toxicological Program (NTP) recently gave an intriguing press conference that in the end stated wireless is not a "high risk situation." This contradicts earlier cautions wireless exposures could have large repercussions, as stated in 2016 presentation of the pre-release NTP radiofrequency radiation (wireless) study by Michael Wyde in Belgium. It contradicts warnings by retired Ronald Melnick, who designed the study, and retired Christopher Portier, who initially directed the NTP study from the position of National Center for Environmental Health director. Then, an analysis of the study by Dr. Ronald Kostoff, presently at the Georgia Institute of Technology and who has many relevant publications in the field and has worked for the Department of Energy, Bell Laboratories, and the Office of Naval Research, suggests that the study design itself fails to address the even larger detrimental impact of wireless as a promoter of other toxins.
This single statement dismissing high risk was only a moment of a longer press conference discussing concerning findings. The NTP did admit of its study that malignant schwannomas and cardiomyopathy, or damage to heart tissue, resulted from exposures the NTP defined as different from regular cell phone exposures. What went unsaid is that all exposures were within FCC limits. What also went unsaid was that some of the power levels tested are common today due to poor regulation, testing procedures, and multiple exposures (see references below).
Misunderstanding of exposures and differences in frequencies might be the cause of the risk dismissal by Bucher. Many of the questions during the press conference were about concerns and the risk, what exactly was the risk, and so a desire for a precise answer was desired.
To emphasize that the NTP appears to be missing understanding of exposures was this statement from Michael Wyde: "we’re not experts on the exposure side but it’s my understanding from discussing with experts that the exposures are rather minimal." Who were those experts?
A study in IEEE Explore titled "Life-Time Dosimetric Assessment for Mice and Rats Exposed in Reverberation Chambers for the Two-Year NTP Cancer Bioassay Study on Cell Phone Radiation" is on the creation of the NTP dosimetry and reverberation chambers. All authors have degrees in engineering, but for McCormick and Ronald Melnick. The engineering experts involved are from the Swiss IT'IS Foundation and the US National Institute of Standards and Technology. These might be the engineering experts Wyde mentioned as stating that the NTP study exposures were rare.
The emphasis that cell phones today use much lower power seems to be a distraction from real life exposures and actual truth. An analysis by French Dr. Marc Arazi of the NTP study describes in detail how cell phone exposures in reality are quite high, as measurements are improperly taken (this analysis is available on SaferEMR dot com). He quotes a study by the French government measuring and finding levels exceeding French limits, for which a lawsuit he launched was required in order for release.
Measurements I've taken from children's toys have been disturbing, some exceeding the levels my meter could measure. Routers, iPads, and microcell levels are also high. Cell phones can exceed FCC allowable limits as indicated by PhoneGate. The FCC is falling down on the job with weak exposure limits and monitoring.
All of the levels in the study tested were within US legal limits, and yet the NTP emphasizes that these exposures are rare. That is something that could be fairly argued. Exposure levels today are a matter of chance and depend not only on whether one is using cell phones or live near cell phone infrastructure.
A concerning aspect of the press conference was the lack of understanding by the NTP of modern exposure levels or issues surrounding measurement accuracy. This is understandable in one sense as the NTP experts are not engineers, and also as there is little attention to monitoring modern exposures. There may also be some difficulty in communicating and understanding between experts on exposure versus biology.
At the NTP press conference, Bucher stated, "There’s still a question as to whether frequency in and of itself and the changes in frequency could alter the outcome in these animal studies." The mice and the rats in the study had very different outcomes, and were exposed to different frequencies.
A cautionary stance would require research on specific frequencies before release on the market. Instead there are many different frequencies in use, and many different types of transmissions and power levels. Dr. Marc Arazi pointed out in his analysis that the NTP used frequencies no longer in majority use, that multiple frequencies are likely to have more powerful effects, and that one would at least expect some research to occur on the new frequencies of 5G.
The measurement used in the study, SAR, has been considered quite inaccurate. The SAR problem has been a popular complaint among scientists in this field for many years.
Advocate Arthur Firstenberg has argued that even the measurements taken for the study show omissions and wide variation that reflect poorly on the study's claimed divisions between exposed, unexposed, and more or less exposed.
Further, a safe level has still not yet been identified, and no threshold level was identified by the NTP that was safe. While a dose-response was noted in the NTP study, such a dose-response may not exist at lower power levels. There may be a non-linear effect at low power. There is just too much research missing to say just use it less.
The NTP repeatedly stated that they did not understand all of the findings. To me one ought to err on the side of caution.
Then something that seems never mentioned relates to how rats were only exposed for two years. While sure, two years is said to correlate to 70 years old in human terms, two years is still two years. Although humans live longer, can the same damage occur in two years? Would not our DNA and our cells be equally impacted in that time frame? It would seem so, judging by other studies.
In a court of law, statements such as wireless is not "high risk" and ignorance about full effects could certainly be used to defend to show that consensus on risks is lacking. The need for continued scientific investigation should be a cautionary note, and instead appears to be a free-for-all.
Clearly, risks do exist, risk that we do not yet fully understand.
The public must understand crucial points:
1. Wireless frequencies have biological effects and the effects are largely unknown.
2. The exposed animals showed significant heart damage, tumors, and DNA damage, before the death of and in contrast to the unexposed inside of just two years.
3. The exposures were inside FCC limits, and can reflect overlapping and single exposures from wireless transmitters (cell phones, children's toys, routers, microcells).
4. The FCC limits should immediately be lowered, and an NTP precautionary review of FCC limits begin.
5. New frequencies proposed for wireless should be be halted and studied to prevent further harm.
6. Risk is likely greater for individuals with health issues, multiple frequencies, or other environmental toxins.
If discussion of the NTP study does not cover these details, then the public will not be warned as necessary and appropriate action will not be taken.
DO POLITICS FIGURE INTO DENIAL OF RISK?
Overall, the press conference seemed sincere detailing study findings.
Should the NTP have explicitly stated that wireless is best avoided? Well, yes, I'd say so.
However, the NTP did not say so.
Microwave News was denied a Freedom of Information Act Request in 2015, after a NTP Motorola presentation on the still unreleased NTP radiofrequency study (search "Institute of Environmental Health Secrets" at Microwave News).
Such a presentation would give business a moment to revise power levels and wireless design. During the conference that was in fact suggested, that new cell phones had lower power levels and test exposures were unusual. As if cell phones were the only possible exposure, and as if tested exposures were rare. That seemed to be the over-riding emphasis, though clearly questionable.
If the NTP were to say wireless is a high risk, especially for children, then stocks might plunge alongside pension funds. This might explain why the NTP presented to industry in advance, to give industry a heads up for change.
Unfortunately, wireless infrastructure appears to be ramping up from continued use and investment.
In a Facebook posting, Ronald Kostoff shares the on point slogan "Wireless is too Big to Fail!" in relation to economic collapse, not to mention the cost of new infrastructure.
Political and economic pressures would make it difficult for any public figure to express wireless risks.
However, the NTP is concerned. Many statements show concern, such as Director Linda Birnbaum's "unequivocal risk" statement in a presentation to the NIEHS in June of 2016. Yet we continue to roll out wireless infrastructure. The study does show risks and further provides support for many other studies with similar findings.
There does seem to be political will to provide the study transparently. The out-of-the-ordinary pre-release in advance of the draft release occurred while Obama was in office, shortly before Trump was elected, as if to insure publicity.
Trump certainly does not seem to be in favor of informing the public of environmental risk, as indicated by appointment of Scott Pruitt. By January 2017, a gag order had been placed on the EPA and USDA to prevent unapproved release of information to the press and public, in step with totalitarian governments. By November 2017, Scott Pruitt had already dismissed half the scientists from the Science Advisory Board, the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) and the Board of Scientific Counselors--all of which influence grants--with Pruitt promoting an increase in industry's voice. EPA funds have also been used to hire an opposition research firm, Definer's Inc., to monitor EPA emails with media, and to make numerous Freedom of Information Act requests as described by the New York Times in the 2017 article "E.P.A. Contractor Has Spent Past Year Scouring the Agency for Anti-Trump Officials." Trump's administration seems to be aiming for lockstep agreement as indicated by numerous firings, resignations, position reassignments, monitoring, micromanagement, and the freezing of work.
Our government system is designed to insure independent judges, but not independent science in the public interest, nor attention to the Precautionary Principle. Dr. Andrew Marino, retired professor of LSU with a long history of electromagnetic study and research, has also argued that courts with expertise to answer scientific questions are needed.
2008 data from the National Science Foundation shows over 10 million scientists were employed by industry in the USA, versus much less than 3 million for state and federal government combined and much less than 2 million for those working at four-year colleges. Then, many colleges are also dependent on funding associated with industry--as US Right to Know has documented in relation to GMOs, academics can be and have been corrupted by industry money. In the USA, most scientists are dependent on industry for a job, and independent science lacks stable funding.
Those numbers also reflect how little funding exists for independent public health research.
That lack of independent, stable funding can go a long way to preventing a scientific consensus against industry interests, partly by raising the specter of unemployment both for government and industry scientists. Even a non-profit such as IITRI requires investment to continue research.
Even the new associate director of the NTP, who replaced now demoted Bucher, hails from GlaxoSmithKline, a pharmaceutical company with 9.42 billion revenue in 2017. GSK actively seeks digital partners, having partnered with Microsoft, Viant, Apple, and Google. GSK states online a primary interest in "patent-protected innovations" such as "wearables, mobile medical apps, novel sensors, connected medical devices." In Canada, GSK "smart" shelves share information with cell phones on a GSK over-the-counter drug. Propeller Health is working with GSK on connected inhalers. GSK subsidiary CNSI is also involved in health information technology.
As if concern over causing economic losses were not enough to impinge on expressing risks, the New York Times reported November 1, 2016, of a GSK Chinese bribery scheme that inflated pharmaceutical costs and in which the suspected whistleblower was fired even as GSK paid for sleuthing to uncover sources, with the whistleblower remaining today anonymous and who was afraid of being physically harmed. GSK bribery allegations have also arisen in countries such as Poland, Yemen, Syria, Romania, etc. These kinds of stories make people who want to tell the truth nervous.
The extent that wireless and chemical pollutants pervade business and our economy is not just a political, but a social and economic pressure upon all scientific researchers.
The NTP study and many other academic studies or studies sponsored by other governments indicate that our reliance on wireless needs to end and the Precautionary Principle move forward.
The NTP study is currently in the peer review process. Peer review by outside scientists of influential government studies was a process launched during George Bush's administration. The EPA has been criticized for choosing, hand-picking industry scientists for peer reviews. In contrast, the NTP has posted an online registration for the first 100 persons to attend in-person the March 26-28, 2018, along with options for public comments and online access to research. Hopefully this process will be more objective than the EPA's.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information on the NTP study, see Dr. Joel Moskowitz's site SaferEMR dot com and search for the National Toxicological Program or see his review titled "Spin vs. Fact." Also see:
2018 Press Conference Transcript: www dot niehs dot nih dot gov/news/newsroom/releases/2018/february2/radiofrequency_508.pdf
One can view at YouTube dot com followed by /watch?v=m6Qs6mCvmZc a presentation by the National Toxicological Program where director Linda Birnbaum calls the link between wireless and schwannomas “unequivocally clear” (43:20).
Moskowitz, J. (2018, Mar 16). National Toxicology Program: Peer & public review of cell phone radiation study reports. SaferEMR dot com /2018/01/national-toxicology-program-peer-public.html
Exposure and Testing Requirements for Mobile Phones Should Be Reassessed. US Government Accountability Office. GAO-12-771: Published: Jul 24, 2012. Publicly Released: Aug 7, 2012.
Davis, Devra. (2018, Feb 6). Federal Action Needed: Expert Reaction to NIH $25 Million Study Linking Cell Phone Radiation to Cancer. SBWire.
Janik, K. (2018, Jan 23). “PhoneGate:” French Study Finds 9 of 10 Cell Phones Exceed Safe Radiation Limits. Project Censored.
For more information how Daubert tilts the scale against plaintiffs in toxic torts, see:
Berger, Margaret A. (2005). "What Has a Decade of Daubert Wrought". American Journal of Public Health. 95(S1): S59–65. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2004.044701. PMID 16030340. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-06-28. Retrieved 2006-07-12.
Report of Partial findings from the National Toxicology Program Carcinogenesis Studies of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation in Hsd: Sprague Dawley® SD rats (Whole Body Exposure).
Michael Wyde, Mark Cesta, Chad Blystone, Susan Elmore, Paul Foster, Michelle Hooth, Grace Kissling, David Malarkey, Robert Sills, Matthew Stout, View ORCID ProfileNigel Walker, Kristine Witt, Mary Wolfe, John Bucher
While revising the article, the following corrections and changes were made:
1. Removal that McCormick wrote an article after and in opposition to the IARC decision: that article was submitted in January 2011, when the IARC decision was in May 2011. The review "Systematic review of wireless phone use and brain cancer and other head tumors" in Bio Electro Magnetics stated that a significant risk was not found in a review of brain tumor and wireless phones, which is not necessarily "denouncing" the IARC review. The article is discussed in Microwave News as "Repacholi's RF Review."
2. Removal but correction that IITRI is actually a not-for-profit (sorry, my eyes).
3. Removal but correction that Bluetooth headphones may be less powerful than cell phones, instead of equal to or more powerful than, and are today marketed often as less powerful. Although, some headphones and some devices may be equal to or more powerful than cell phones.
4. Correction to EPA peer review has often been dominated by industry appointees, but not apparently the NTP as well. Addition of NTP peer review process.
5. Removal of some content as too lengthy or irrelevant with revision. However, the following remains interesting to note:
An analysis by the Center for Public Integrity had this to say about Gradient: "Gradient belongs to a breed of scientific consulting firms that defends the products of its corporate clients beyond credulity, even exhaustively studied substances whose dangers are not in doubt, such as asbestos, lead and arsenic." Valberg has regularly provided court testimony and spoken at EPA hearings on behalf of the utility industry.
As an important aside, the Center for Public Integrity describes Gradient's methods for defending industry from toxic torts as publishing non-peer edited attacks with letters, dismissing animal studies, and according to peers, lying. In addition, over half of Gradient journal articles were published in two journals with "strong ties" to industry: Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology and Critical Reviews in Toxicology.