By Rich Kozlovich
Some time back a wrote an article I called Weasel Words and Phrases outlining how so many studies inflame the public via the media while actually saying nothing…except possibly justifying the grant money they have begged; with hope of more of the same. The holy grail of science is no longer truth, and in point of fact, time has shown that “truth” will be eviscerated if it means damming up the flow of that sweetest of all nectars, that virtual ambrosia of the gods to modern science……government grant money! This basic assessment about science seems to be true; when science becomes rich, it becomes politics.
I have been amazed that for the last few days I have heard so much about the WHO report and cell phones causing cancer. At first I just dismissed at as more media hype that was being used to fill in a bad news day and give the appearance of “news” rather than the horsepucky that it is, but it has turned into a media juggernaut. An idiotic one at that!
What is next? Cell phones cause infertility? How about this? Cell phones may cause a drop in IQ in children of parents using these items. Or this….pregnant mothers using these items “may” be not only affecting their babies IQ, but the future health of their babies if they expose them to these electronic devices because they may also develop cancer fifty years later. Whew! If that doesn’t scare a new mother….what could?
Steve Milloy of Junkscience.com wrote a short summary of this nonsense called “Cell phones and cancer: Who cares what WHO says?” calling this “much ado about nothing” for a number of reasons, but for starters he says , “WHO relies on are weak association studies that have zero reliability.”
Steve goes on to say that “Study subject radiation exposure is based on self-report and so is uncertain. No one knows what causes gliomas, so confounding risk factors could not be ruled out. The reported statistical associations are not strong enough to overcome the inherently unscientific nature of epidemiology. Most epidemiologic studies report no link between cell phone use and cancer. That some do is no surprise — just by chance some will. That all the studies basically bracket the no-effect level indicates that cell phone use poses no cancer risk.”
Since I started reading and writing about all of these issues I have come to realize that the value of the research can be predetermined by who the researchers are. Steve states openly that "the WHO panel was led by Jonathan Samet is yet another red flag of junk science.”
He finishes by saying that “Hundreds of millions have used cell phones for decades without any detectable health effects. Before that, studies of military radio operators reported no ill effects from more intense exposures to radio frequency waves. The bottom line is that the WHO classification is a political judgment — not a scientific outcome — one that was no doubt pushed by grant-grubbing cell phone researchers and cheered on by the tin foil hat crowd.”
This morning I received my regular Daily Dispatch from the American Council on Science and Health which included a link discussing this subject in a short article by Dr. Gil Ross called “Wrong number: Media dials up cell phone scare “ In the article Dr. Elizabeth Whelan reports that “This is a story that causes unnecessary anxiety. The new classification, based on IARC’s assessment of earlier studies, stems largely from an international study that found a slight increase in the rate of brain glioma (a type of tumor) in people who had used a cell phone for over 30 minutes a day for 10 or more years. However, the classification of “possibly carcinogenic to humans” means that there have not been enough long-terms studies from which to draw a definite conclusion. "
Here is something even more interesting; Whelan states that “Indeed, the same study actually found a reduced risk of cancer among the large majority of cellphone users — another outcome entirely divorced from reality.” How can anyone come up with directly opposing results from the same study and call it science? It seems clear that this was a conclusion in search of data!
Dr. Gilbert Ross says that; “There’s no biological hypothesis to explain how cellphone ‘radiation’ might cause cancer,” he notes. “Cell phone ‘radiation’ is neither ionizing nor mutagenic.” Once again the value of the research can be determined by those making the claims as “Dr. Ross is amazed at Dr. Keith Black, chair of neurology at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles, who has frequently been quoted likening cell phone use to “cooking the brain” via “a very low-powered microwave oven.” Dr. Ross finds the analogy irresponsible and outrageous.”
For many years I have said that everything we are told should bear some resemblance to what we see going on in reality. Every new innovation seems to cause cancer, yet cancer rates have been dropping for years in spite of the media hype to the contrary. It is clear that if we want real science we need to stop awarding government grant money for "scientific research". We could save untold billions that way. Not just the savings on wasted grant money that is turning out junk science, but the cost of the regulations and legislation this stuff generates. It is estimated that govenment regulations at the federal level will cost the American public 1.75 trillion dollars in 2011. Now that would be a really good start at balancing the budget!