Victoria, BC V9C 3V5
May 14, 2009
Ms. Sheila Fraser
Auditor General of Canada
Office of the Auditor General of Canada
240 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G6
Dear Ms. Fraser,
Re: Conflict of Interest -- Health Canada
It was with great interest I learned that your Office has alleged conflict of interest in several departments of Government. One concerns a consultant who worked on a strategy for greenhouse emissions and later worked for organizations that received grants from the program.
In June, 2008, I and my husband submitted a petition (#255) to your Office alleging conflict of interest in Health Canada. It included many examples of scientists either having received funding from or being affiliated with telecommunications industries. Some of these scientists are responsible for determining the safety of devices sold by these industries or the electromagnetic radiation (EMR) emitted by these devices. Others are "experts" whose research is used by Health Canada's scientists as bases for decisions. I provided many examples of Health Canada scientists refusing to consider independent studies by credible scientists which demonstrate that EMR can and does contribute to major health problems.
One, Dr. James McNamee , research scientist, Consumer & Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau, Health Canada, is the new EMR specialist on the editorial board of Radiation Research. He has published three negative papers on microwave genotoxicity in Radiation Research. McNamee also has written a review paper with Moulder on cell phones and cancer. Vijayalaxmi, McNamee and Maria Scarfi, an Italian researcher, are authors on 14 of the 42 negative genotox papers. Ten of their 14 negative papers were published in Radiation Research. (Microwave News, July 31, 2006)
Dr. McNamee is on the Board of Directors for the Bioelectromagnetics Society, with his term ending 2008. (www.bioelectromagnetics.org) This Society's newsletter is funded by Motorola, and its editor is Dr. Mays Swicord, director of EMR research for Motorola. (Microwave News, July 2004)
In reply to my request for examples of what Health Canada considers credible studies showing that there are no adverse health effects from non-thermal RF radiation, on March 17, 2008, Dr. McNamee sent me the following list:
a) Krewski D, Glickman BW, Habas RW, Habbick B, Lotz WG, Mandeville R, Prato FS, Salem T. Weaver DF. Recent advances in research on radiofrequency fields and health: 2001-2003. J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev. 10:287-318 (2007)
b) Valberg PA, van Deventer TE, Repacholi MH. Workgroup report: base stations and wireless networks-radiofrequency (RF) exposures and health consequences. EnvironHealth Perspect. 115:416-424 (2007)
c) Moulder JE, Foster KR, Erdreich LS, McNamee JP. Mobile phones, mobile phone base stations and cancer: a review. Int J Radiat Biol. 81:189-203 (2005)
d) Vijayalaxmi, Obe G. Controversial cytogenic observations in mammalian somatic cells exposed to radiofrequency exposure. Radiat Res. 162:481-496 (2004)
e) Ahlbom A, Green A, Kheifets L., Savitz D, Swerdlow A; ICNIRP. Epidemiology of health effects of radiofrequency exposure. Enviro Health Perspect. 112:1741-1754 (2004)
I decided to apply Dr. McNamee's "vigilant surveillance" to the quality and integrity of some of his sources:
a) D. Krewski is Director of the R. Samuel McLaughlin Centre for Population Risk Assessment, University of Ottawa.. According to CBC's Marketplace, Nov. 25, 2003, the Canadian Wireless and Telecommunication Association (CWTA),a cell phone industry lobby group along with its members invested $1 million to help establish the R. Samuel McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment at the University of Ottawa, where Dr. Krewski is doing his cellphone research. The head of the CWTA, Peter Barnes, told CBC that the million dollars his lobby group gave to Krewski's centre has no strings attached.
Dr. Krewski also holds the position of Chair of the scientific advisory group of the Wireless Information Research Centre (WIRC). According to CBC News, Nov. 25, 2003, the WIRC is funded by the Canadian Wireless and Telecommunication Association.
Another of his positions is that of Director of IARC, the Canadian Interphone Study. Canada is the only country of the 13 participants that accepts funding from the telecommunications industry. "Krewski has about $1million to fund his part of the IARC research, most of it came from the Canadian Wireless and Telecommunications Association, the cellphone industry lobby group." (CBC News, Nov. 25, 2003)
According to the University of Ottawa Gazette, May 10, 2001, "The Canadian project has received a grant from the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), which is being administered through the university-industry partnership program of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR). CIHR is expected to fund half, with the CWTA funding the remainder. "Industry has a responsibility to contribute to health research on their products, to address questions about potential health risks associated with wireless telecommunications," he says. "The university-industry partnership program that CIHR has set up is exactly designed for this purpose."
In addition, "Roger Poirier, the man who negotiated the million dollar deal, is a consultant on the big cellphone study for IARC," as reported by CBC News, Nov. 25, 2003.
The World Health Organization (WHO), according to many observers, is closely associated with the industries they are supposed to be researching. According the WHO 2005 Annual Report, Krewski acted as the Principal Investigator in the epidemiological study of cellular telephones and head and neck cancer which was funded by CIHR and CWTA, with the databases created and coordinated by the McLaughlin Centre.
In the same WHO Report is documentation that Dr. Krewski, along with R. Habash and M. Repacholi, was the principal investigator for the study on Electromagnetic Fields and Health which was funded by the CWTA and CIHR ($850,000).
b) John Moulder is an industry consultant, and, according to Microwave News, July 31, 2006, "has a lucrative consulting practice on EMFs and health. Over the years, Moulder has earned hundreds of thousands of dollars disputing the existence of adverse EMF health effects, even those accepted by most other members of the EMF community."
He has worked for Radiation Research since the early 1990s and is now senior editor of it. "Over the last 16 years, only one positive paper on microwave genotoxicity has appeared in Radiation Research.... 80% of the negative papers (17 out of 21) published in Radiation Research were paid for by either industry or the U.S. Air Force."
Microwave News is "meticulously researched and thoroughly documented." Time Magazine, July 30, 1990" the most authoritative journal on ELF fields and health." Fortune Magazine, Dec. 31, 1990 "the world's most authoritative source on EMF health risks." Washington Journalism Review, Jan/Feb 1991
c) Obe G. Vijayalaxmi, together with Moulder and some colleagues from Washington University and the U.S. Air Force had published a review paper that dismissed any possible connection between cell phones and cancer. This was published in Radiation Research. After Moulder had moved up to senior editor in 2001, he recruited Vijayalaxmi of the University of Texas in San Antonio to join the Radiation Research editorial board. Vijayalaxmi is the lead author on seven of the negative microwave-genotox papers. All were funded by the U.S. Air Force, Motorola or a combination of the two. (Microwave News, July 31, 2006)
Dr. Vijayalaxmi is treasurer for the Bioelectromagnetics Society, and will be until 2010.
Many surveys confirm that money-source influences results of research. One done by Harvard University Medical School was reported in the New York Times, June 10, 2008. In another one, Dr. Henry Lai in 2006, reported on 326 studies on EMR, finding that where the results were of no biological harm, 72% were industry funded. Of those showing biological harm, only 33% received industry funding. Yet Health Canada replied to my charges with, "The fact that some studies are either directly or indirectly funded, in whole or in part, from the wireless industry or any other sources does not constitute a valid reason to dismiss these research findings outright."
Dr. James McNamee of Health Canada supports the use of industry-funded research, arguing that the number of studies which show no biological harm outnumber those showing harm. Therefore, using the "weight of evidence" argument, he supports the current stance.
Ms. Fraser, please explain to me how this evidence, and more which I could provide, does not warrant an investigation into conflict of interest. Is our health not as important as natural resources? For years, experts have questioned Health Canada's competence and independence, yet it continues to fail to fulfill its mandate of protecting Canadians. It is well past the time for you and your office to investigate why Health Canada appears to be working for the corporations rather than the citizens of Canada.
- The Guardian -The Observer:
"Child cancer deaths led by brain tumours"
Kevin O'Neill, a consultant neurosurgeon at Imperial College London, said: "Brain tumours are on the increase, reportedly in the region of 2% per year. But in my unit we have seen the number of cases nearly double in the last year."
- All Next-up News: www.next-up.org/Newsoftheworld/2009.php
First it was childhood leukemia and now brain tumours! What next? Why are charities funding this research and not governments???
Child cancer deaths led by brain tumours
Carolines Davies The Observer Sunday 26 April 2009
Brain tumours are the leading cause of childhood cancer deaths in Britain, with half as many more children dying from the illness as from leukaemia. Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that in 2007 there were 47% more deaths from brain tumours among under-15s than from leukaemia. Yet that is not reflected in the money spent on research, say campaigners. This week sees the launch of Brain Tumour Research, a national coalition of 14 charities, which believe that research is "woefully underfunded". It is backed by celebrities including the actress Sheila Hancock, whose grandson survived a tumour, and actor Martin Kemp and opera singer Russell Watson, who were both treated successfully.
Hancock, 76, the widow of actor John Thaw, saw her grandson Jack diagnosed with a rare tumour aged four. "It is terrible to watch a grandchild go through the diagnosis and treatment of a brain tumour. You feel so helpless." Jack was successfully operated on. Kevin O'Neill, a consultant neurosurgeon at Imperial College London, said: "Brain tumours are on the increase, reportedly in the region of 2% per year. But in my unit we have seen the number of cases nearly double in the last year."
The wifi in relief in several libraries in Paris
Created 13/05/09 - Last updated at 19h16
A moratorium on the terminals wifi was announced at the Paris III Sorbonne University at the last meeting of the health and safety. A decision which is in full debate on the harmfulness of the airwaves.
The decision concerns the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, Sainte-Barbe, of Oriental Languages and Documentation Center of the Faculty of Censier. At the last meeting of its Health and Safety Committee, the Paris III Sorbonne University announced it had implemented a moratorium to suspend the wireless terminals that operate in these places and which allow access to wireless internet .
Since the launch on 23 April of Grenelle meeting on waves, on base stations and mobile phones, the wireless terminal is increasingly often on the scene while the subject was not addressed. Hérouville the municipality of Saint-Clair in Calvados also decided to cut the wifi in schools by the end of the year.
"The health problem (posed by wireless terminals NDLR) is similar to that posed by mobile phones," says Stephen Cendrier, spokesman for the Association Robin roofs. Libraries in Paris, several employees have complained about and problems with memory or language problems, nausea, vomiting or dizziness. And have questioned the wifi.
Scientists are still on this issue more carefully. Hours for Martine, a medical epidemiologist at the National Institute for Research on Transport and Safety, in general, "explains the relatively low wifi" and essentially "when there are many transfers of data." The mayor of Paris had launched a study in several libraries in 2007. The measures indicated levels of electromagnetic waves of 80 to 400 times lower than the reference level the lowest.
Thank you for taking the time to contribute to the Cancer Research UK blog I think it was worthwhile. If you would like to circulate my contribution, please feel free to do so.
Do Mobile Phones Cause Cancer?
- Dr. Andrew Goldsworthy Says
I am a retired lecturer in Biology from Imperial College London.
There is no doubt that prolonged exposure to mobile phone radiation does cause DNA damage in some cell lines. We cannot expect all cell lines to behave in the same way because of natural biological variability. We are all the products of thousands of genes that interact in countless ways so that each one of us is both physically and biochemically unique. We do not all get the same side effects from taking a medicinal drug and we cannot therefore expect to respond in the same way to electromagnetic insults.
Also, it is not a valid argument to say that because we do not understand the mechanism by which the DNA damage occurs, then it cannot happen. However, if you want a plausible mechanism visit http://tinyurl.com/5ru6e6 . In essence it says that the loss of structurally important calcium ions weakens cell membranes and makes them more inclined to develop temporary pores and leak. When this happens to lysosome membranes, they leak digestive enzymes that then damage the cell's DNA.
Having said that, most of the severely damaged cells will die naturally, but others may remain as clones of aberrant but benign cells that increase in number with increasing exposure to the radiation. However, we would expect some to be genetically unstable and mutate, with natural selection favoring the more rapidly growing and aggressive ones until we get a full-blown cancer. But even then, the immune system should be able to nip it in the bud; that is until the immune system fails due to old age or is compromised in some way. Consequently, the likelihood of developing mobile phone-related cancer will depend on genotype, duration of exposure and the state of the immune system.
However, the reported effects of living within a few hundred metres of a base station cannot be explained so easily. The low signal strength at this distance demands an exquisitely sensitive mechanism to detect the radiation. Unfortunately (for us) there is such a mechanism. It lies in the magnetically sensitive pigment cryptochrome. The cryptochromes are a family of pigments present in virtually all animals, plants and some bacteria. They are used to sense the presence of light, or the direction of the Earth's magnetic field in animals that use it for navigation. They also form an integral part of the biological clock that controls their circadian rhythms.
Put very simply, cryptochromes can measure magnetic fields because they absorb light and use its energy to drive an electron between two parts of the molecule to form a pair of magnetic free radicals. The electron then finds its way back, but the process is delayed by any external magnetic field, so that the amount of pigment in the free radical form at any one time is a measure of the field. Much of the cryptochrome is in the eye, where its different orientations in the curve of the retina probably enables migratory animals to "see" the field possibly, as an extra colour superimposed on their fields of vision.
Ritz et al. demonstrated this very clearly, when they showed that robins were able to orient in the geomagnetic field when given light of the wavelengths absorbed by cryptochrome. However, even more significantly, they found that oscillating electromagnetic fields within the range 0.1-10MHz at 0.085 microtesla (about 500 times weaker than the Earth's steady field) completely disrupted the system and the birds were unable to orient. (Ritz et al. Nature. Vol. 249 13th May 2004). It may be significant that this range of frequencies includes the bit-rates (rates of transmission of individual digital pulses) of many forms of digital wireless communications, including mobile phones, DECT cordless phones and Wifi. It seems likely that these forms of low level radiation may also interfere with the birds' ability to navigate.
We humans have no natural ability to navigate using the Earth's magnetic field, and we sense light to synchronise our circadian rhythms using melanopsin. But we still have cryptochromes, much of it concentrated in the pineal gland, where, in conjunction with the suprachiasmatic nucleus, it appears to regulate the biological clock that leads to the rhythmic production of melatonin. Much of the work on the biological clock has been done on mutants of the fruit fly Drosophila, and this too appears to be affected by magnetic fields (see Yoshii et al. 2009 http://tinyurl.com/cx7xaa ). They did not test oscillating fields, but a 300microtesla steady field could alter the rhythm of the clock or even stop it altogether.
The main significance of the biological clock for humans is that it controls our natural circadian rhythms, which enable us to anticipate the coming of dawn and dusk and diverts our body's resources to meet the demands of the new conditions. Many aspects of metabolism are controlled in this way; for example, during the day they are diverted to physical activity, but at night they are diverted more to the immune system and repair. If the rhythm were to fail or become weakened in amplitude, no process controlled by the clock would ever be able to function with maximum power. In particular, the immune system may never be able to summon the overwhelming power that is sometimes needed to overcome infection or cancer cells before they get out of control.
There is considerable anecdotal evidence for a weakened circadian rhythm in people living close to mobile phone masts, which include tiredness and loss of concentration during the day and poor sleep at night. The disruption of melatonin production during prolonged exposure to power line fields has been reviewed by Henshaw and Reiter (Bioelectromagnetics Supplement 7S86-S97 (2005)) and they argue that the effect on the rhythm may be similar to light.
The notion that weak electromagnetic fields have an effect similar to light is disturbing to say the least. In a paper reviewing the disruption of circadian rhythms in shift workers and others exposed to nighttime illumination Navara and Nelson. (J Pineal Research 2007 (http://tinyurl.com/afgLjr)) report an increased risk of breast and other cancers and a whole range of other health effects including insulin resistance, coronary heart disease, hypertension and myocardial infarction.
This clearly needs further investigation, but on present evidence, people living, and in particular sleeping, near a mobile phone base station may be at far greater risk of developing cancer than someone who just makes the occasional brief mobile phone call.
(for full context see:
As I am sure you heard online on the Dale Goldhawk Radio show in Toronto "the New 740 AM - Zoomer Radio", our topic of 'Smart Meters' and Electrosensitivity is to be repeated tomorrow. We can keep this awareness growing, by having callers tell their experiences.
The telephone numbers are: 416-360-0740 and 866-740-4740
Magda Havas is going to be interviewed for 20 minutes on the Dale Goldhawk Radio show in Toronto "the New 740 AM - Zoomer Radio" between 12:10 and 12:30 pm (EST) on Thursday May 14th. It is going to have a call-in section so some people may want to share their experiences with EHS and CFLs. I don't have the number but they will announce it on air.
Here is their website.
People can listen online if they want. Go to their main site http://www.am740.ca and "click to listen
All the best,