Mark Goldberg


www.mhgoldberg.com





Fox Group Dispatch

Academic dishonesty

Do mobile towers pose a health risk? There are some people who think so, but I am increasingly of the opinion that many have been victims of a campaign of misinformation and embarrassing bad science.

At community meeting last night, a group cited the response given to a question at a press conference given by the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization as proof that the organization included towers in their warnings about RF.

Here is what was actually said in the press conference (starting at the 12:50 mark on the official MP3 rebroadcast):

Jeff Waters (Australian Broadcasting Company): There hasn’t been any mention so far as far as I’ve heard, and please correct me if I’m wrong, of mobile telephone towers and their effects on human health. Given the classification that you have given this, should we conclude that mobile telephone towers are also included in the possible risk?

Dr Jonathan Samet (University of Southern California): The working group did consider the various studies that have been carried out on population groups exposed to radio frequency electromagnetic fields from such towers; we judged that body of evidence itself, because of various methodological limitations, as uninformative for the overall classification. The designation of Group 2B is “radio frequency electromagnetic fields” that is unspecified as to source, so the Group 2B classification would have broad applicability to sources with this type of emissions.

Dr Robert Baan (IARC): I would like to add that typical exposures from roof-top or tower-mounted mobile phone base stations, and I cite from the new monograph, are lower by more than 5 orders of magnitude compared to regular GSM handsets so that would mean that the use of a mobile telephone, the exposure to this type of radiation is much, much higher than what you receive from the base station on the roof top.

But that is not how that same interaction had been previously portrayed to the group that opposes towers for health reasons. These people thought that they had viewed an accurate portrayal of the press conference in a YouTube video:

Jeff Waters (Australian Broadcasting Company): There hasn’t been any mention so far as far as I’ve heard, and please correct me if I’m wrong, of mobile telephone towers and their effects on human health. Given the classification that you have given this, should we conclude that mobile telephone towers are also included in the possible risk?

Dr Jonathan Samet (shown in the caption as affiliated with University of California): The designation of Group 2B is “radio frequency electromagnetic fields” that is unspecified as to source, so the Group 2B classification would have broad applicability to sources with this type of emissions. [Noise and interference effects added to the end]

Dr Baan’s important comments didn’t exist as far as the anti-tower advocates are concerned. And of course, the lobbyist cut out the introductory sentence that refers to the bad science (“methodological limitations”) producing a “body of evidence” that is “uninformative for the overall classification.”

I think the edit that is being distributed is shamefully misleading. Exposure to Radio Frequency emissions from towers are more than 5 orders of magnitude lower than the emissions from devices – that is more than 100,000 times less. Towers aren’t the source of health concerns.

I repeat my assertion from last week:

Despite the emotions whipped up by neighbours and purveyors of junk science, the towers are not the issue. If you are concerned about being exposed to RF energy from mobile services, then it seems to me that you would want to limit to output required by the devices. These are the transmitters that are closest to you, whether you own a device or not. The radios in these devices adjust power based on the strength of the signal from the tower. So, my logic goes that if you want the phone to dial down the power, make sure that it has access to 5 bars of network signal. The logical progression is that we need more towers in order to reduce exposure to RF energy.

Tell your local municipal councillor that you want more towers – attractive ones, or camouflaged towers – to reduce your exposure to RF energy and improve your mobile service.

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