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|Science and the truth in mobile telecommunication research|
|Germany||Created: 4 Oct 2008|
Munich, September 10, 2008 - The German Mobile Telecommunication Research Programme (DMF) was
carried out within the last six years and the costs of 17 million Euro have been borne equally by the Government
and the telecommunication industry. Based on the results it was concluded that there is no reason to doubt the
protective effect of the present safety limits against health risks from mobile phone radiation.
The overwhelming echo in the media reaching far beyond Germany was in line with the significance of this
statement. However, regarding its truthfulness it is in stark contradiction to the current status of international
research, and it is not even covered by the results of the own research programme. The DMF can give no answer
on the central issue of long-term effects of mobile phone radiation and on the special risk for children. In view of
this limitation, the all clear signal is close to irresponsibility, and since the existence of athermic effects well
below the valid safety limits has been entirely ignored, it is not far away from being unconscionable. To realize
this in time thus preventing a wrong decision by the Federal Government would have been the task of an
governmental advisory committee, the so-called German Radiation Protection Board (SSK) consisting
exclusively of scientists. But we experience exactly the opposite: It is the SSK's recommendation that made the
Government's all clear signal even possible.
A major role in this advisory committee plays Prof. Alexander Lerchl from the private Jacobs University
Bremen, whose scientific work enjoys special support from the telecommunication industry. For quite a while he
objects the results from the international research indicating possible harmful effects of mobile phone radiation,
and especially of the UMTS radiation. In the Rector of the Medical University Vienna (MUV) and the editors of
the German weekly Der Spiegel he did apparently find partners who support his activities without any
A few months ago the Rector of MUV claimed solely on the basis of suspicions and misleading information,
which came among others from Alexander Lerchl, that two important studies on possible genotoxic effects of
mobile phone radiation from the Division of Occupational Health in his university have been fabricated. By
demanding from the authors and the editors of the scientific journals where the studies had been published the
retraction of both, he followed the recommendation of his Council of Ethics in Science. But surprisingly it
turned out that the composition of this Council did not even stick to ethical principles of the MUV in so far as its
chairman was a representative of the Austrian telecommunication industry!
After the disclosure of this scandal another meeting of the Council was fixed, this time with a neutral chairman.
The minutes of this meeting which are treated as a secret document not foreseen for publication, but which we
could view being co-author of the published studies, show convincingly that the allegations against the
concerned research team are with a high probability unfounded. Remaining uncertainties could be easily clarified
if this is actually wanted. But what does the Rector do? Regardless of the content of the minutes he repeats his
allegations in public announcements. These accusations were considered important enough to be dealt with in
major journals like Science, and Der Spiegel brought them out into the open in a sensational presentation.
On his homepage the Rector of the MUV comments on science and truth in general and in particular in the field
of mobile phone radiation research. Following his understanding, he considers it obviously justified to destroy
scientific results obtained in many years of research as well as reputation of the involved researchers, based
solely on his suspicion of wrong-doing, although none of his allegations is proven yet. A campaign like this,
although not new in mobile phone radiation research, contradicts all demands on scientific and journalistic
honesty. Even worse, the denial of possible risks to the health of people due to mobile phone radiation which are
well documented decisively contradicts the mission of any medical university!
At present, one can only speculate on the background of these activities which inevitably lead to the destruction
of scientific data and aim at the manipulation of the public opinion. Doing so, one can try to find an explanation
on the basis of available hints. The consequence of getting the Vienna research results out of the scientific
literature would be that one important reason speaking against the irresponsible DMF statement and the claimed
reliability of the current safety limits would at least be weakened, if not removed at all. And if the planned
continuation of research on the same topics as followed in Vienna could be prevented for some years, the
telecommunication industry would have no reason to complain.
The VERUM Foundation which organized and coordinated the largely EU-funded REFLEX project (QLK4-CT-
1999-01574) running from 2000 to 2004, did in the meantime submit a grant application for a follow-up research
project including 9 international partners. The REFLEX project with a considerable contribution by the Vienna
team showed that mobile radiation can alter the structure and function of genes in isolated human cells. With the
new project it is intended to find out if similar alterations in cells can be found also in humans, and especially in
children and adolescents. Should that be the case, there would be a strong indication that mobile phone radiation
is a health risk for man, although the extent of it would still lie in the dark.
The follow-up project received an excellent evaluation by the reviewers of the EU Commission but still has not
been funded yet. How far the events in Vienna did influence the Commission to hesitate can hardly be found out.
But once more the question arises who will profit most from preventing this kind of research and with it the
further clarification of possible health risks due to mobile phone radiation. Of course, not Alexander Lerchl from
the private Jacobs University Bremen who enjoys the special support of the telecommunication industry and not
the actors in Vienna and Hamburg who support him. It is the telecommunication industry that obviously makes
use of willing straw men. That truthfulness and reliability in the science of mobile phone radiation research must
not be hindered in this way, for that we have to take care now.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Verum Foundation, Prof. Franz Adlkofer, 10 Sep 2008|
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