Conflicts of Interest seen in Canadian EMR Safety PanelThe review of Wifi effects on health and safety by the scientific panel has been met with resignations and accusations of conflict of interest.

A citizen’s advocacy group from Canada believes that one of the panel members chosen by the Royal Society of Canada to examine the radiation exposure and the necessary safety levels in the close proximity of wireless devices, mobiles and mobile towers, should resign. The group, also known as C4ST or Canadians for Safe Technology, also wish for the professor and director of radiation biology at the Medical College of Wisconsin, John Moulder, to be removed from the review panel.

Frank Clegg, C4ST’s chairman says, “Moulder is an American industry consultant and has served as a professional expert witness with a pattern of denying the suspected or identified risks. He has no place influencing Canada’s safety review.”

This is the second time that a charge of this nature has affected the eight-member review panel, for the purpose of updating the safety guidelines of 2009 for electromagnetic radiation from wireless devices. Health Canada has funded $100,000, so that the report can add to the industry-developed regulations.

After it was leaked in a report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that Daniel Krewski had not disclosed the details of his governmental contracts, creating a conflict of interest for himself, he resigned. Krewski is known to receive a contract worth $126,000 from Industry Canada for the provision of “communications advice” to remove people’s  fears related to the mobile phone antennas.

The contract also included a role for him to ”assist in addressing what the Department believes is opposition, often based on misperceptions and misinformation. This was to convince the Canadians that the Safety Code 6 is legitimate,” as per the Merx public tender document.

Due to the confidentiality provisions in an agreement with the Royal Society, Moulder declined an interview request concerning the charges by C4ST. In March, the Royal Society of Canada summoned its panel, ‘Review of Safety Code 6: Potential Health Risks of Radiofrequency Fields from Wireless Telecommunications Devices.’  The panel members were called from the US, UK and the Netherlands.

The director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany, New York, Dr. David Carpenter  agrees with C4ST that Moulder is creating a lot of trouble for the panel because of the fact that he has taken public positions, which interfere with his ability to be objective or independent.

According to Olle Johansson of the Department of Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, the identification of panel candidates who do not have conflict of interest concerns should not be a difficult job for the Royal Society of Canada. Johansson is known to have organized a panel on Wifi safety in 2009 in Seletun, Norway.

While talking to C4ST, he says, “There is quite a sufficient number of independent scientific experts with commercial ties. These projects and reviews must be entirely independent of all types of commercial interests.”

The aim of C4ST is to create an awareness about the likely threats of the unsafe levels of radiation exposure from gadgets and technologies to the Canadians. A latest NANO survey on the perception among the Canadians of the harms of the radiation emitted by everyday wireless devices, is presented in a video released by C4ST.  The former head of Microsoft Canada, Clegg, is now the organization’s CEO.