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www.mast-victims.org forum / General discussion / More ties between industry and conflicting interests, this time WHO´s Repacholi
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Robert Riedlinger
# Posted: 18 Nov 2006 04:57
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It’s Official: Mike Repacholi Is An Industry Consultant,
And He’s Already in Hot Water
Just months after leaving his post as the head of the EMF project at the
World Health Organization (WHO), Mike Repacholi is now in business as an
industry consultant. The Connecticut Light and Power Co. (CL&P), a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities, and the United Illuminating Co. (UI) have hired Repacholi to help steer the Connecticut Siting Council away from a strict EMF exposure standard.
The siting council is in the process of revising the state’s EMF policies.
Last year, it hired its own industry consultant, Peter Valberg of the Gradient Corp., to review the current state of EMF health research. Valberg’s report, submitted in January, proposes a “screening level” of 100mG to protect against any adverse health effects “even in a hypothetically more sensitive sub-population”— that is, it would also protect young children. (Why a screening level?
(See box )
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Screening Level vs. Exposure Standard
The origin of the term “screening level,” used by Peter Valberg in his report, is obscure. “[It’s] a bit confusing,” NIEHS’ Chris Portier told us. “I have not encountered it in this context.” Portier was formerly the associate director of the U.S. National Toxicology Program.
Valberg may well be using it as a way of not talking about an “exposure standard.” As Mike Repacholi stated in his report for the two electric utilities, “It is important that the screening level is not perceived as a population exposure limit” because, in part, it could “provoke unwarranted public alarm.”
Regardless of what Valberg calls it, Repacholi said that a 100mG limit is unnecessary. He argued that there are no health effects below 10,000mG (10G). The “overwhelming weight of scientific evidence suggests that [exposure limits below 10,000mG will result in] no health benefit,” Repacholi told the council on behalf of the two utilities.
Other CL&P/UI consultants also don’t see the need for an exposure standard. Exponent’s Bill Bailey, one of CL&P/UI most-called-upon expert witnesses, told the council that “making a recommendation of a screening value of a 100mG quantifies something that may not be at all necessary.”
As for Valberg, he testified at a state hearing held on April 20 that, “I certainly feel that in [the] range of 6 to 100 [mG], that it is not necessary to pay attention to the magnetic fields.
*******************************************************
The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), on the other hand,
is targeting a limit of 6-to-10mG, based on epidemiological studies pointing
to a childhood leukemia risk at magnetic field levels above 3-4mG.
The DPH has been sharply critical of Valberg’s report. In a May 31 submission to the siting council, the DPH advised that it provided “simplistic reviews of the science that lead to an ill-conceived mG target level.” Valberg’s proposed 100mG level simply does not give “adequate protection” for children, according to the DPH. (The department filed additional comments on October 25. These latter comments, but not those filed on May 31, are available on the council’s Web site.)
One Industry Consultant Supports Another The two electric utilities commissioned Repacholi to prepare detailed comments to support Valberg and to rebut the DPH. They were submitted to the siting board on October 26. And on the same day, CL&P and UI set up a conference call to give Repacholi an opportunity to convince DPH officials to follow the policies he had devised at the WHO EMF project—for instance, to stick to the ICNIRP guidelines, which would allow children to be exposed to up to 833mG on a continuous basis.
Repacholi’s filing has been criticized for citing, and at times mis- representing, as-yet unreleased WHO reports for the benefit of his corporate clients.
Some see this as a continuation of his activities at the WHO, where Repacholi was often accused of favoring the mobile phone and electric utility industries at the expense of public health.
Others see Repacholi’s consulting work as the closing of a circle. Industry
provided financial support for the EMF project (see box on p.3)
and Repacholi is now using the materials he prepared at the WHO
with industry money to support industry policy positions.

Robert Riedlinger
# Posted: 18 Nov 2006 05:04
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Interpreting the Epidemiological Studies:
The state DPH believes that the EMF risk of childhood leukemia is serious. The epidemiological studies “cannot be dismissed,” the DPH told the siting council.
Valberg and Repacholi interpret the data very differently than the DPH. Both consultants seek to downplay, if not dismiss, the epidemiological studies. For instance, whenever Valberg referred to the epidemiological evidence in his report, he almost always called it “weak.” He argued that magnetic fields “cannot be accepted as a causal factor.”
Repacholi went even further, calling the epidemiological evidence “very weak.” The “100 mG screening level is extremely cautious and highly protective for all the public, including children,” he asserted.
While Valberg and Repacholi may appear to be on opposite sides in this siting council proceeding, they are currently collaborating on a different, equally controversial, EMF issue. They have recently completed a paper, together with Emilie van Deventer, the new head of the EMF project, on the possible health effects of wireless radiation. (It will appear in a future issue of Environmental Health Perspectives and was posted on the journal’s Web site—www.ehponline.org—on November 6.) Following the
playbook of other industry consultants, they have been selective about which research results they presented. For example, in a review of the findings of the ongoing Interphone study on the possible cancer risks associated with the use of mobile phones, they fail to mention perhaps the most disquieting result to date: A statistically significant risk of acoustic neuroma among those who had used hand-held phones for more than ten years. The open question of possible long-term risks is simply ignored.
An “Absurd” Misrepresentation. To strengthen his testimony on behalf of the two electric utilities, Repacholi cited the findings of an unfinished WHO report— Environmental Health Criteria (EHC)—on EMF risks. Twenty
invited experts drafted this report at a meeting in Geneva last October. The final version was expected to be made public months ago but it’s still being edited by the WHO staff.
Repacholi has misrepresented the group’s conclusions, according to Chris Portier, who chaired the expert panel. “The paraphrasing sometimes has gone a bit far and may be misleading,” Portier told Microwave News. Portier is the associate director for risk assessment at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).
Portier cited a couple of examples. In a summary of the WHO report, Repacholi’s states that the EHC panel concluded that “The epidemiological evidence cannot be used as a basis for standards (exposure limits).”
“Such a statement is absurd,” said Portier, “Since they obviously
can be used.”
Also according to Repacholi’s report: “The task group recognized that the ICNIRP (1998) guidelines provide adequate protection for all established health effects.” This an “overstatement,” Portier said, “As I recall our recommendation it was that these guidelines were protective for acute effects; we said nothing about all effects in this recommendation.”
The way the EHC review was written and edited is itself controversial.
Repacholi invited eight observers to attend the meeting: All eight were from the electric utility industry. Even before the meeting, Repacholi solicited the views of a number of industry representatives, including Exponent’s Bill Bailey, another CL&P/UI consultant.
Repacholi is also being criticized for using another unfinished WHO report in his comments to the siting council. Carl Blackman, Martin Blank, David Carpenter, Olle Johansson and Cindy Sage are troubled by Repacholi’s appending a copy of his Framework for Guiding Public Health Policy Options in Areas of Scientific Uncertainty to his testimony. They have written to Portier asking that he use his “influence” to get Repacholi to temporarily withdraw his testimony to the siting council pending the completion of that report.
This Framework has a rich history. Repacholi developed it with Leeka Kheifets who used to be his assistant at the WHO. Kheifets formerly worked at EPRI, the research arm of the electric utility industry, in Palo Alto, CA, and she still receives research support from EPRI. They wrote it after they flip-flopped over whether the WHO should invoke the precautionary principle to address EMF health risks (see MWN, M/J03). After announcing that precaution was called for at a meeting in Brussels
in early 2003, Repacholi changed course. Instead, he and Kheifets
set out to devise a way to address all types of uncertain health risks. Like the EHC document, the Framework was still unfinished when Repacholi left the WHO last summer.
Mitch Gross, a spokesman for CL&P declined to offer any comment on Repacholi’s work for the electric utility. “I would not attempt to address it,” he said. There is no word on how much Repacholi is being paid for his work on behalf of the two electric utilities. Two years ago, at a Connecticut hearing on a contested power line, Philip Cole of the University of Alabama, Birmingham, yet another CL&P/UI consultant, testified that he was being paid $400/hour. And Stuart Aaronson of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, a fourth CL&P/UI expert witness, said that he too was being paid $400/hour.
http://www.microwavenews.com/docs/mwn.11-06.CT.pdf

Robert Riedlinger
# Posted: 18 Nov 2006 05:06
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Depleted Uranium Cover-Up?

In the first week of November, Mike Repacholi was also in the news with respect to his work on ionizing radiation. Keith Baverstock. one of his former coworkers at the WHO charged that Repacholi had suppressed reports indicating that depleted uranium poses a cancer risk.
In a radio interview with the BBC, Repacholi called the eight peer- reviewed papers pointing to a genotoxic effect of depleted uranium that were assembled by Baverstock, “fairytale stuff.”
http://www.microwavenews.com/docs/mwn.11-06.CT.pdf

Robert Riedlinger
# Posted: 18 Nov 2006 05:08
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Industry Support for EMF Project: New Sources Revealed

Imagine, a Belgian magazine, is reporting in its November/December issue that the WHO EMF project has been receiving even more industry money than has been previously disclosed. In a cover story titled, “Mobile
Phones: We’re All Guinea Pigs!,” David Leloup revealed that the GSM Association (GSMA) recently increased its annual payment to €150,000 ($165,000). Before 2005, the GSMA contributed €50,000 ($55,000) a year.
This is in addition to the $150,000 a year, the Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF) gives the EMF project each year. (MMF’s Mike Milligan confirmed this to Microwave News in 2003.) Previously, Motorola gave Repacholi
$50,000 a year; but the company now funnels its payments through the MMF.
Leloup estimates that these two mobile phone trade associations alone made up more than 40% of the EMF project’s 2005-2006 budget.
The total contribution from the wireless industry is no doubt higher, however. Other groups have also been sending money to Mike Repacholi. For instance, the FGF, the German wireless industry group, has been giving the project about €15,000 ($16,500) a year, according to Gerd Friedrich, the director of the FGF.
This does not include any possible support from the electric utlity industry.
http://www.microwavenews.com/docs/mwn.11-06.CT.pdf

Robert Riedlinger
# Posted: 18 Nov 2006 05:13
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Mike Repacholi responds to Microwave News 13 November 2006 issue

Given the continuous criticism of me and WHO’s EMF Project by Microwave News I feel it important to set the record straight; especially to address some of the many misrepresentations and innuendos in the13 November issue. I do not normally bother responding to MW News because anyone that matters to me will know that most of the accusations are untrue. It is also important that all the “activists” that quote MW News religiously and without question will at least have the other side of the story before they propagate the MW News myths.
Having reached the mandatory retirement age for WHO I can choose whatever employment I feel appropriate. Since retirement I have been assisting many national authorities and continue to be asked by then for help. The fact that I provide information to industry as well is my choice. I will continue to promote the excellent work done by the EMF Project to all who want to listen.
To say that I am or was ever influenced by industry in any way is completely ludicrous…I am ONLY influenced by sound science and reasoned arguments.
It is true that I was asked to provide Connecticut Light and Power Company with my opinion on the submission of the Connecticut Department of Health. CDH proposed a “screening level” of 10 mG at the edge of the right-of-way for a new transmission line. In my personal opinion this is out of line with the weight of evidence from the science. Overall the evidence for there being a “causal” relationship between exposure to ELF magnetic fields and childhood leukaemia is weak and unconvincing, as generally agreed by ALL blue-ribbon review panels world wide.
While the “Precautionary Framework” is not yet published, the EMF Project has recommended for some time that precautionary measures should be adopted. This is especially important for ELF magnetic fields where there is evidence for an association between these fields and childhood leukaemia. Precautionary measures are recommended to take account of the consistency in the epidemiological studies, but because the science is weak and not convincing that there is a causal relationship, the precautionary measures should be at no or low cost.
Dr Valberg suggested a screening level of 100 mG at the edge of the right-of-way that he justified as a precautionary measure. My concern was that, while this would be appropriate and quite cautionary, it should not be interpreted as a public exposure limit. It has been stated many times before that the international limits are considered to be protective of all established health effects from ELF field exposure.
The draft Precautionary Framework was provided in my report merely to assist the CDH develop precautionary measures that could be justified by the science, should they so desire. The copy I provided in my report to the Connecticut Siting Commission was that given to the International Advisory Committee in June 2006 for their review. There was no indication on this draft that it could not be distributed further or cited; comments from anyone are always welcome by the EMF Project. In my report it is clearly stated at the top of the annex that the Framework is still a draft and could change.
It is quite hypocritical to accuse me of citing an unpublished draft given that MW News published the full text of an EPA draft on EMF fields some years ago in which it was clearly stated that it was NOT to be distributed further or cited.
There are many statements made by MW News that contain innuendo and misrepresentation. For example it is stated that: “Some see this as a continuation of his activities at the WHO, where Repacholi was often accused of favoring the mobile phone and electric utility industries at the expense of public health.” All activities conducted by the EMF Project are based on sound science. Any conclusions and recommendations about health risk are those of a committee of experts convened for this purpose. WHO staff are ONLY the secretariat for these meetings. Thus any statements on EMF health issues can be traced the recommendations of a committee…again MW News has known of this before.
Even when WHO staff publish a scientific paper that was based on the results of an open workshop (on mobile phone base stations and wireless networks) MW News implies that this is in some way a scandalous thing. Dr Valberg was a keynote speaker at this workshop. This is compounded when Slesin states that our paper did not quote the “most disquieting result” about an increased risk of acoustic neuroma. This was not mentioned because the paper Slesin quotes is about mobile phones; that deliver 1000s of times more RF exposure than base stations.
MW News states that funds are sent to Mike Repacholi. NO funds were EVER sent to me. WHO has strict rules on funding and the EMF Project and all its staff have ALWAYS adhered to them.
The fact that the Project receives funding support from industry has been noted in the Project’s Progress Reports posted on the WHO web site each year. For example see: http://www.who.int/peh-emf/publications/reports/en/progressreport2003_ 2004.pdf. WHO does not normally identify individual donors or the amounts they contribute. The EMF Project gives the total amount contributed each year in its financial reports. I should add that MW News has had all this information for years, but regularly produces statements claiming this is new information.
Amazingly MW News has never written anything good about the EMF Project in over 10 years. The Project is the most successful for EMF; it has and still is the umbrella for addressing EMF issues at the international level, in 10 years it has generated over $250 million for research on possible health risks from EMF, and it has provided sound advice to national authorities since its inception.
Dr Mike Repacholi
15 November 2006

************************
From: Michael Repacholi
To: r_riedlin@telus.net
Sent: Friday, November 17, 2006 7:08 AM
Subject: Re: FW: It's Official: Mike Repacholi Is an Industry Consultant
Sorry Robert I was looking in the "Junk mail" folder and found your message...for some reason the WHO mail server recognised your messages as junk.
Anyway I am sure your not interested in my side of the story but here it is anyway
"Repacholi, Michael Harry" <repacholim@who.int> wrote:

Robert Riedlinger
# Posted: 27 Nov 2006 03:54
Reply 


Conflict of Interest & Bias in Health
Advisory Committees: A case study of the WHO’s
Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Task Group
Don Maisch
EMFacts Information Service
Read the whole Document at:
http://www.safewireless.org/Portals/2/Documents/Conflict_of_Interest__ _Don_Mais__2_.pdf

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