“Telecom Funded Review on Children and Cell Phone Radiation Should Be Retracted” According to Independent Scientists of the Environmental Health Trust
New research claims that an industry supported review alleging children and adults absorb the same radiation from mobile phones used biased methods and contains major systematic errors.
A new paper by Environmental Health Trust researchers exposes glaring inconsistencies and systematic errors in a Telecom industry-funded review alleging that the radiation dose to a child’s brain from cell phone use does not differ from adults. According to the newly published study’s lead author, Dr. Robert Morris, Senior Medical Advisor to the Environmental Health Trust, “Our detailed analysis of this review by two researchers with extensive ties to industry reveals what appears to be a deliberate distortion of the science and a boldfaced effort to downplay potential risks to children using mobile devices. Unless the authors can correct the glaring inconsistencies and internal contradictions in their work, the paper should be retracted.”
“Our paper shows that the published literature supports exactly the opposite conclusion to that reached by Foster and Chou. Children using cell phones absorb higher peak doses of microwave radiation than adults,” states Dr. Devra Davis, Visiting Professor of Medicine at The Hebrew University, President of Environmental Health Trust (EHT) and a co-author of the paper.
In 2014, Chou and Foster published a review of 23 publications that had used computer models to compare the dose of microwave radiation absorbed by the brains of children and adults. In that review, the authors concluded that the published literature showed no consistent difference between adults and children with respect to the peak absorbed dose of microwave radiation.
RESULTS OF THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW
In this newly published critique of the 2014 review, EHT researchers found glaring internal inconsistencies and systematic errors in the presentation of data by Foster and Chou. They found summaries of the 23 studies, as quoted by Foster and Chou, support the opposite conclusion that at a fixed level of exposure, children absorb higher peak doses of radiation than adults.
The researchers point to a graphical Figure by Foster and Chou that purports to summarize results abstracted from individual studies. This graphic indicated 25% of the results showed higher peak doses in children, 30% showed little or no difference, and 46% showed higher peak doses in adults. Yet, when the authors of those same studies summarize their findings, summaries quoted by Foster and Chou, most reached the opposite conclusion. “Contrary to what Foster and Chou assert, the majority of studies find that children do absorb greater doses of microwave radiation from mobile phones than adults,” said Morris, noting that 57% of studies concluded that doses are higher in children, while only 10% concluded that doses were higher in adults. These inconsistencies are summarized in Figure 1 below.
“The probability of this discrepancy occurring by chance alone is less than 1%. This leaves only two possible explanations. The first possibility is that many authors of the 22 individual studies misinterpreted and/or misrepresented their review findings in their text summaries. This seems unlikely given the number of authors involved and the fact that the peer review process would need to have failed repeatedly for this to occur. The only other explanation is that a bias in the methods used by Foster and Chou introduced a systematic error in their abstraction of review results,” stated the authors.
“The authors are heavily supported by the cell phone industry,” states co-author Lloyd Morgan describing how the Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF) funded the 2014 Chou and Foster review and earlier had sent Foster to Greece to Co-Chair a Workshop on the this very topic with CK Chou who was then Chief EME Scientist for Motorola. Ken Foster’s research is also often funded by industry organizations such as theWi-Fi Alliance. “CK Chou seems to have been at the forefront of protecting industry’s interests for many decades. He was a Motorola executive while serving on the IEEE Committee that created the exposure limits adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). He still chairs the IEEE Committee that will likely be involved in considering the FCC’s adoption of even higher exposure limits than exist today,” explains electrical engineer Lloyd Morgan, co-author of the paper.
The authors also summarize two key additional problems with Foster and Chou’s paper. They state that no clear protocol was specified for the identification of the reviewed studies. They question why Foster and Chou spend almost half of their discussion “focusing on papers that are more than a decade old, but say nothing about half of the studies published in the past decade, most of which contradict their primary conclusion.”
“The evidence is clear and compelling,” states Davis, “Children absorb more radiation than adults and their brains are especially vulnerable.” She refers to a newly published paperby researchers at the Federal Universities of Brazil in which sophisticated modeling of the absorption of cell phone radiation in the brains of children “confirms that substantially higher radiation doses occur in younger children as compared to adults.”
In summary, the authors conclude that the published literature supports exactly the opposite conclusion to that reached by Foster and Chou. The published literature supports a conclusion that children using cell phones absorb higher peak doses of microwave radiation than adults. “Either the majority of the original authors in the published literature misrepresented their own results or Foster and Chou have misrepresented the result of those studies. It appears that cell phone industry authors have produced cell phone industry results.,” states Morris.
The paper Children Absorb Higher Doses of Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Radiation From Mobile Phones Than Adults can be accessed here. The IEEE/Access is one of the world’s leading engineering and scientific magazines.
A graphic abstract for this paper by the Environmental Health Trust
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Robert D. Morris, MD, PhD, is a physician and an environmental epidemiologist. He has taught at Tufts University School of Medicine, Harvard University School of Public Health and the Medical College of Wisconsin and has served as an advisor to the EPA, CDC, NIH, the President’s Cancer Panel and worked with the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Environmental Epidemiology and with the National Cancer Institute.
Devra Davis, PhD, MPH, is President of the Environmental Health Trust, a non-profit scientific and policy think tank. She is currently Visiting Professor of Medicine at The Hebrew University, Hadassah Medical Center and Ondokuz Mayis University Medical School and was Founding Director of the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology of the U.S. National Research Council and Founding Director, Center for Environmental Oncology, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. President Clinton appointed Dr. Davis to the newly established Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, and she is a former Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Health in the Department of Health and Human Services.
Lloyd Morgan is an Electronic Engineer by training with 38 years of industrial experience to the VP level in Silicon Valley and is a Board member with the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS), the International EMF Alliance and Senior Research Fellow with the Environmental Health Trust (EHT). He has been involved in the study of exposure to electromagnetic fields and resultant health problems since 1995. He continues to carry out critical analyses of epidemiological studies in the field and presents findings to local expert forums in Teton County, as well as nationally and internationally. His paper on the brain modeling of cell phones with Dr. Gandhi, Dr. Herberman and Dr. Davis, was one of the most widely cited papers in the field.
ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH TRUST
Environmental Health Trust (EHT) educates individuals, health professionals and communities about controllable environmental health risks and policy changes needed to reduce those risks. Currently, EHT is raising awareness on how to reduce exposure to cell phone and wireless radiation. The Environmental Health Trust maintains a regularly updated database of worldwide precautionary policies detailing how countries are taking action to protect public health and features lectures of EHT experts. Please visit EHtrust.org and on Facebook.
Dr. Devra Davis Delivers the Dean’s Lecture at the University of Melbourne