Thursday, April 10, 2014

500 million citizens are relying on SCENIHR:Is Science Being Hidden from the Public?

500 million citizens are relying on SCENIHR:Is Science Being Hidden from the Public?

Eileen O'Connor
Director, Radiation Research Trust

The European Commission in collaboration with the Greek Atomic
Energy Commission (GAEC) under the auspices of the EU Council
Greek Presidency organised a major workshop in Athens on EMF
electromagnetic fields and health effects with a focus on
public awareness, conciliating scientific findings and
uncertainties in policy making. The event took place on 27th &
28 March 2014 at Cotsen Hall, Athens, Greece and included
presenters from various parties from the European Commission,
WHO, public authorities, industry, operators, environmental
and consumer associations and academia.  The goal of the
conference was to reach a common approach for the future in
order to respond to public concerns about electromagnetic
fields, to enhance information dissemination and discuss new
studies and scientific evidence in relation to EMF, and to
identify knowledge gaps needed for sound policy making. In
this context, the new SCENIHR draft opinion on EMF and
potential health effects was presented.

SCENIHR, the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly
Identified Health Risks, has been charged with providing
reports for the European Commission and Members of the
European Parliament which may be relied upon by all
participating governments.

Eileen O’Connor was invited as a representative for the UK
Radiation Research Trust charity and was joined by Sissel
Halmøy representing International EMF Alliance.

The opening address was given by Marian Harkin MEP expressing
the need for a review from up to date evidence and the need
for accountability.  She stressed importance of openness
towards lobbying and diverse opinions and the need for
transparency and inclusion of all stakeholders. She reminded
the EU Commission and SCENIHR that public consultation should
not simply be a box ticking exercise and that consultation is
only meaningful if addressing negative outcomes along with
reports that have positive outcomes. Furthermore and perhaps
most profoundly, she gave the stark reminder that 500 million
citizens are relying on SCENIHR’s review.

Eileen O’Connor said “I was hoping for an equal and honest
debate to be held in Athens, but was sadly surprised and
extremely disappointed by the lack of inclusion for
stakeholders with alternative views to scientists representing
SCENIHR in Athens.  I was one of only two voices invited to
present with an alternative view and had taken time to prepare
a presentation in the hope and anticipation of receiving a
warm welcome and equal opportunity to be heard and taken

Sissel Halmøy said “It was plain for all to see that there was
clear selection bias from SCENIHR’s review as they clearly
cherry picked their own research and promoted it as gold
standard while heavily criticising Lennart Hardell’s research.”

The Hardell Group published five ground breaking studies in
2013, all of which have been ignored by SCENIHR in their
report.  The Hardell studies are the first to correlate mobile
phone usage with incidences of brain tumours over a 20+year
period of time, longer than any other epidemiological studies.
 They found a clear correlation between cell phone usage and
two types of brain tumours, acoustic neuromas and the
deadliest of all brain cancers, gliomas.  Yet this startling
risk of brain tumours was not only ignored, but denigrated by
members of SCENIHR, the irony being IARC -- the World Health
Organization's cancer committee -- accepted Hardell's science
prior to 2013 for consideration when the IARC scientists
almost unanimously  voted for the 2B "possible carcinogen to
humans" classification for the entire RF - EMF Spectrum.

Joachim Schüz, Head of IARC's Section of Environment and
Radiation, promoted the Danish study while criticising
Haredell’s publications.  Eileen O’Connor reminded him that
the highest court in Italy favoured Hardell’s study over the
2010 Interphone Studies, which had failed to find a similar
correlation.  She also reminded him that the Italian court
considered Hardell’s studies more reliable and independent
than the Interphone study which had been part funded by the
mobile phone industry.

Paolo Rossi, Italian Ministry of Health said, "Children should
not use mobile phones as a toy”. However, he then joined
Theodoros Samaras, Chair of the EMF working group in
criticising the decision from the Italian Supreme Court judge
for awarding compensation towards a plaintiff who developed a
neuroma brain tumour caused by his heavy mobile phone use.
Paolo Rossi also criticised the methodology used in Hardell’s

For years scientists have been offering incomplete,
inconsistent and contradictory information, leading to
confusion for the public and policy makers, resulting in
members of the public seeking justice via the courts.
O’Connor highlighted the fact that days after the mobile phone
brain tumour ruling, the Italian trial court found six
scientists and one government official guilty of manslaughter
due to their failure to predict an earthquake. All were
convicted for providing inexact, incomplete and contradictory
information about the dangers preceding a devastating 2009
earthquake in Italy which killed 309 people. "This ruling is
significant as we appear to be witnessing a repeat in regards
to the EMF debate," announced O'Connor.  "There is a lack of
responsibility taken with policy makers saying they are
relying on government and industry funded scientific reports
from scientists.  Then these same scientists say it is the
duty of policy makers to protect public health. Who is truly
speaking out for the 500 million citizens the European
Commission oversees? Do we need to wait for the courts to hold
those who are offering inexact, incomplete and contradictory
information accountable?

Eileen O’Connor held the five Hardell papers missing from
SCENIHR's report up high for all to see and called for them to
be included within the SCENIHR review.  Reading the conclusion
from one of the papers she said

“Conclusions Based on Hill’s viewpoints and his discussion on
how these issues should be used, the conclusion of this review
is that glioma and acoustic neuroma are caused by RF-EMF
emissions from wireless phones. According to the IARC Preamble
(54), the classification should be group 1, i.e., “the agent
is carcinogenic to humans”, and urgent revision of current
guidelines for exposure is needed.”

The deficiency of the SCENIHR opinion document was reported by
many including former New York Times science writer Blake
Levitt and University of Washington Professor Henry Lai as
highlighted in Sissel Halmøy’ presentation.  Lai and Levitt
said the report fails to do a thorough review of recent
literature on non-ionizing electromagnetic fields (EMF) and
biological health effects. Only selected papers were evaluated
using ambiguous criteria.

Most of the following publications since 2007 were not
considered by SCENIHR.

•      Genetic effects:
RFR: 114 papers (65% reported effects)
ELF EMF: 59 papers (83% reported effects)

•      Neurological effects:
RFR: 211 papers (68% reported effects)
ELF EMF: 105 papers (90% reported effects)

•      Oxidative status:
RFR: 106 papers (88% reported effects)
ELF EMF: 110 papers (88% reported effects)

Lai and Levitt said, “It is outrageous to ignore any effect of
EMF exposure on human health and a crime to humanity not to
recommend any action to curtail the exposure.”

Demands have been made for the report to be returned for a new
evaluation and an urgent call for independent experts to be
included within SCENIHR.

Radiation Research Trust Director Eileen O’Connor has written
to John F. Ryan, Acting Director for Public Health Directorate
Health and Consumers Directorate General at the European
Commission, and called for a thorough and complete overhaul of
the report, stating that some of the scientists working within
SECNIHR are offering inaccurate, incomplete and contradictory
information.  "The public and policy makers deserve to know
the truth as 500 million citizens are relying on their
opinion," demanded O'Connor.  "The time has come and as a
matter of urgency to demand the inclusion of truly independent
scientists with a reminder that it is not just the 500 million
citizens at risk today, but future generations due to the
epigenetic properties this agent carries."

"The EU Commission has been called to insist that public
health is priority," continued O'Connor, "with a reminder that
ignoring this situation today will lead to false economy in
the future due to the impact this technology will have on
public health and the environment."

 "The world urgently needs to be informed that these five
papers by the esteemed Hardell Group were dismissed and
ignored by Schüz, by IARC, by WHO, and as we witnessed in
Athens, by SCENIHR," Eileen O'Connor stated.  "These papers
have been placed directly into the hands of the EU Commission
along with the report from Lai and Levitt outlining hundreds
of missing research papers demonstrating positive results in
the hope that policy makers can hold SCENIHR accountable."

"This issue needs to be addressed and dealt with as a matter
of global urgency,” announced Sissel Halmøy. With a background
in cybernetics and having worked as a rocket scientist for 18
years, Halmøy was chosen as one out of 17,000 employees by her
former employer to meet with Apollo 13.  She said “'Failure is
not an option.'  These are the famous words from the Apollo 13
control room chief officer Gene Kranz and these words have
followed me since meeting him in 1999.” The rocket scientist
continued, "Our European Community is being irradiated by
microwaves; people are becoming ill and suffering with many
conditions including electrosensitivity. The World Health
Organization has also declared a possible correlation to
cancer in humans. It's not rocket science.  It's just common
sense and sound science."

 Eileen O’Connor is the co-founders for the UK Radiation
Research Trust and co-founder for the International EMF
Alliance. In 2011, she became a member of the European
Commission’s DG SANCO expert group of stakeholders on
electromagnetic fields.  Eileen talked about her mission with
this campaign since developing breast cancer in her 30’s and
discovering a cancer cluster surrounding the T-Mobile phone
mast in 2001 in the tiny hamlet of Wishaw.  She highlighted 10
epidemiological studies that assessed for health effects of
mobile phone base stations. Seven of these studies explored
the association between base station proximity and
neurobehavioral effects and three investigated cancer. Eight
of the 10 studies reported increased prevalence of adverse
neurobehavioral symptoms or cancer in populations living at
distances 500 meters from base stations.

Residents of Wishaw engaged with T-Mobile while searching for
the truth in science and pleading for their lives and for
T-Mobile remove the phone mast after the discovering the
cancer cluster.  T-Mobile shamefully highlighted the Stewart
report claiming the mast was operating within Safety
guidelines, while burying a report commissioned by T-Mobile in
2000. The ECOLOG report of over 220 peer-reviewed and
published papers found evidence for the following:

    Adverse effects on central nervous system,
    Cancer initiating and promoting effects,
    Impairments of certain brain functions,
     Loss of memory and cognitive function.

Ecolog called for an immediate downward regulation for the
ICNIRP guidelines. This study, profound in its conclusions of
harm, was not circulated and remained only available in German
until discovered and translated by HESE UK many years later
and was hidden to residents in Wishaw as O'Connor desperately
sought answers for the cancer cluster in her village.

In addition, the Insurance industry worryingly highlights the
implications for human health, in particular with regard to
the use of mobile phones, power lines or antennas for
broadcasting.  Potential impacts are rated as high and likely
to hit the casualty area of insurance business over the next

Professor Lukas Margaritas, leader for the Department of Cell
Biology at University of Athens, along with Dr Adamantia F.
Fragopoulou and fellow researchers attended the event.
Experts famous in this field having published many
peer-reviewed papers, including research on the impacts of
mobile phone and DECT cordless phone base radiation on key
proteins in the brain, demonstrating that radiation from
mobile and cordless DECT phones can affect proteins of the
mouse brain that are critical to learning, memory, and
thinking.  Both researchers strongly voiced concerns from the
audience and Professor Lukas Margaritas joined in the call for
SCENIHR to include Lennart Hardell’s 2013 publications.

The Member of the European Parliament Marion Harkin’s opening
speech had called for officials to earn respect and the need
to include other stakeholder’s views and need for
transparency. Sadly displays of arrogance and ignorance were
demonstrated by some of the scientists and officials simply
underscoring the differences of opinion which permeated this

A line was drawn in the sand at the end of the workshop in
Athens by Eileen O'Connor.  O'Connor’s last glimmer of hope
had disappeared after witnessing such bias reporting.  The RRT
Director said she was putting those at the conference "on
notice".  O'Connor announced to the assembled scientists, "As
of March 28, 2014 representatives of the telecom industry,
government officials, and WHO scientists absolutely,
irrefutably have the latest science from Hardell and know that
Hardell himself is calling for RF to be classified a Group 1
carcinogen.  The clock has now started ticking on liability.
No more excuses. SCENIHR, The industry, the EU Commission, and
WHO are now fully informed."

The EU Commission survey will run until 16 April 2014.
Interested parties are invited to provide comments on the
scientific evidence of this preliminary opinion online. Once
adopted, this opinion will update previous Scientific
Committee opinions of 19 January 2009 and 6 July 2009 in light
of newly available information.  Please consider providing
information in the hope that the EU will listen and help
protect the lives of future generations. Download details
here: EU Survey

Please contact:  Eileen O'Connor


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