Scandalous Danish Study Reports Cell Phones Are Safe

By: Paul Fitzgerald

In December, 2006, an epidemiological study on cell phone dangers published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute sent the media into a frenzy.10 Newspaper headlines blared: The Danish Study Shows Cell Phone Use is Safe,while TV newscasters proclaimed, Go ahead and talk all you want it's safe!

The news seemed to be a holiday gift for cell phone users. But unfortunately, it's a flawed study, funded by the cell phone industry and designed to bring a positive result. The industry's public relations machine is working in overdrive to assure that the study get top-billing in the media worldwide.

According to Dr. George Carlo, the study, by its design, could not identify even a very large risk. Therefore, any claim that it proves there's no risk from cell phones is a blatant misrepresentation of the data that will give consumers a very dangerous false sense of security.

Epidemiological studies are targets for fixing the outcome because they're observational in nature instead of experimental,Dr. Carlo explains. It's possible to design studies with pre-determined outcomes that still fall within the range of acceptable science. Thus, even highly flawed epidemiological studies can be published in peer-reviewed journals because they're judged against a pragmatic set of standards that assume the highest integrity among the investigators.
Key problems with the study are:

1. There are few discernible differences between who was defined as cell phone users and who wasn't. Thus, people defined as exposed to radiation were pretty much the same as those defined as not exposed to radiation. With few differences, it's nearly impossible to find a risk.

2. Users were defined as anyone who made at least one phone call per week for six months between 1982 and 1995. So any person who made 26 calls was a cell phone user and therefore considered exposed to radiation. Those with less than 26 calls were non-users. In reality, the radiation exposure between users and non-users defined in this manner is not discernible.

3. The exposed people used ancient cell phone technology bearing little resemblance to cell phones used today. The results, even if reliable, have no relevance to the 2 billion cell phone users today.

4.From 1982 to 1995, cell phone minutes cost much more than today and people used their phones much less. Thus there was very little radiation exposure.

5.During the studies time frame, people likely to use their cell phones the most were commercial subscribers. Yet this highest exposed group, in whom risk would most easily be identified, was specifically excluded from the study.

6. There were no biological hypotheses tested in the study. It was therefore only a numbers game. Ignored were mechanisms of disease found in other studies of cell phone radiation effects, including genetic damage, blood-brain barrier leakage, and disrupted intercellular communication. The study did not discuss any research supporting the notion that cell phones could cause problems in users.

7.The study itself was inconsistent with cancer statistics published worldwide addressing the Danish population. This study showed a low risk of cancer overall, when in fact Denmark has some of the highest cancer rates in the world.

This inconsistency suggested that something in the data does not add up. The cell phone industry constantly guards its financial interests, but unfortunately, an unwitting public can be harmed in the process, says Dr. Carlo. "Industry-funded studies in many cases now produce industry-desired outcomes. By tampering with the integrity of scientists, scientific systems and public information steps over the lines of propriety that are appropriate for protecting business interests especially when the casualty of the interference is public health and safety."

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