Research on Industry Influence on EMFs
Research Studies on Industry Influence and Involvement in the Science of EMFs
This page contains an ongoing list of published studies and reports on industry involvement in the science of EMFs.
Scientific analyses show industry funding can and does influence research on radiofrequency radiation. Please take the time to review each of these studies and to review the documentation provided by experts. This webpage has published citations on the influence of industry and vested interests (scroll down).
Please also be aware of these investigative reports on industry influence which summarize the issue:
- The Harvard Press Book “Captured Agency: How the Federal Communications Commission is Dominated by the Industries it Presumably Regulates” by Norm Alster documents the financial ties between the US federal government’s Federal communications Commission (FCC) and how, as a result, the wireless industry has bought inordinate access to—and power over—a major US regulatory agency. Read that here.
- “The Disinformation Campaign—And Massive Radiation Increase—Behind The 5G Rollout” by Mark Hertsgaard And Mark Dowie in The Nation April 23, 2018
- “Health and Cellphones: How Wireless Made Us Think Cell Phones Are Safe” Your Call, KALW 91.7FM San Francisco explores “how big wireless companies used the same playbook as big oil and big tobacco to deceive the public” with guests Dr. Devra Davis and Mark Hertsgaard.
- Democracy Now: How the Wireless Industry Convinced the Public Cellphones Are Safe & Cherry-Picked Research on Risks
- Alternet “What the Cellphone Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know About Radiation Concerns” June 2013
Is the industry aware of the health effects?
Yes. For example, the 2000 Ecolog report commissioned by T-Mobile and Deutsche Telecom MobilNet GmbH describes the the science showing biological effects from cell phone radiation including gene toxicity, cellular processes, effects on the immune system, central nervous system, hormone systems and connections with cancer and infertility. The report states that:
- “Given the results of the present epidemiological studies, it can be concluded that electromagnetic fields with frequencies in the mobile telecommunications range do play a role in the development of cancer.”
“Impairment of cognitive functions was found in animal experiments at power flux densities of 2W/m2. In humans, there are indications that brain functions are influenced by fields such as they occur when using a mobile telephone.”
“An epidemiological study of children who had been exposed to pulsed high frequency fields, found a decrease in the capability to concentrate and an increase in reaction times.”
“Effects of high frequency electromagnetic fields on the central nervous system are proven for intensities well below the current guidelines.
Hardell, Lennart. “World Health Organization, radiofrequency radiation and health – a hard nut to crack (Review).” International Journal of Oncology, vol. 51, no. 2, 2017, pp. 405-13.
Prasad, M., et al. “Mobile phone use and risk of brain tumours: a systematic review of association between study quality, source of funding, and research outcomes.” Neurological Sciences, 2017.
Carlberg, Michael and Lennart Hardell. “Evaluation of Mobile Phone and Cordless Phone Use and Glioma Risk Using the Bradford Hill Viewpoints from 1965 on Association or Causation.” BioMed Research International, vol. 2017, no. 9218486, 2017.
Hardell and Carlberg analyze the current body of science- including the National Toxicology program results- with the Bradford Hill viewpoints to conclude that RF is a human carcinogen. They also point out that several scientific bodies have declined from acknowledging an increased risk for brain tumours from wireless phones. They explain how the same persons appear in these different expert groups and are therefore citing their own conclusions.
Marino, Andrew A. and Simona Carrubba. “The Effects of Mobile-Phone Electromagnetic Fields on Brain Electrical Activity: A Critical Analysis of the Literature.” Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, vol. 28, no. 3, 2009, pp. 250-74.
The article stated that with 87% of brain activity studies sponsored by the mobile phone industry, the issue of conflicts of interest cannot be ignored.
Huss, Anke, et al. “Source of Funding and Results of Studies of Health Effects of Mobile Phone Use: Systematic Review of Experimental Studies.” Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 115, no. 1, 2007, pp. 1-4.
This 2007 systematic review examined whether the source of funding of studies of the effects of low-level radiofrequency radiation is associated with the results of studies and found industry funded studies were substantially less likely to report effects.
Starkey, Sarah J. “Inaccurate official assessment of radiofrequency safety by the Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation” Reviews on Environmental Health, vol. 31, no. 4, 2016.
This review analyzes the Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation (AGNIR) 2012 report which guides Public Health England and details the inaccuracies, omissions and conflict of interest“which make it unsuitable for health risk assessment”. The review states that the “executive summary and overall conclusions did not accurately reflect the scientific evidence available” and the “conflict of interest critically needs to be addressed for the forthcoming World Health Organisation (WHO) Environmental Health Criteria Monograph on Radiofrequency Fields”.
Valentini, E., et al. “Republished review: systematic review and meta-analysis of psychomotor effects of mobile phone electromagnetic fields.” Postgraduate Medical Journal, vol. 87, no. 1031, 2011, pp. 643-51.
This 2011 published review focused on studies published since 1999 on the human cognitive and performance effects of mobile phone-related electromagnetic fields and found the existence of sponsorship and publication biases.
Hardell L., et al. “Secret ties to industry and conflicting interests in cancer research.” American Journal of Industrial Medicine, vol. 50, no. 3, 2007, pp. 227–33.
Walker, Martin J. Corporate Ties That Bind: An Examination of Corporate Manipulation and Vested Interest in Public Health. Skyhorse, 2017.
Corporate Ties that Bind is a collection of essays addressing corporations influence to the scientific discussion on the products they sell. Dr. Lennart Hardell’s Chapter in this book is titled, “Chapter 3: A Battleground–From Phenoxyacetic Acids, Chlorphenyls and Dioxins to Mobile Phones–Cancer Risks, Greenwashing and Vested Interests.’
Additional Documentation on Industry Influence
“‘Radiation Research’ and The Cult of Negative Results.” Microwave News, vol. 26, no. 4, 2006.
This analysis reviewed a subset of health studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. They selected papers on microwave-induced genotoxicity and identified 85 radiofrequency (RF)/microwave-genotox papers published since 1990 and detail the following findings:
43 found some type of biological effect and 42 did not.
32 of the 35 studies that were paid for by the mobile phone industry and the U.S. Air Force show no effect. These make up more than 75% of all the negative studies.
They looked at the journal Radiation Research which in over the last 16 years, only one positive paper on microwave genotoxicity has appeared and found:
- 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.
- The lead author of the lone positive paper, was denied money for a follow-up and soon moved on to other research areas.
- They suspect the Radiation Research’s bias against EMF effects is attributed to John Moulder, (editor in 1991 and senior editor in 2000) a long standing consultant to the power, electronics and communications industries.
- “Radiation Research has become a repository for negative papers and thus an important part of the industry and military strategy to neutralize those who dare to challenge the no-effects dogma. Their work had been made much easier with John Moulder on the inside to ease industry papers into print.”
This research is cited in a Seattle Magazine 2011 article.
Ishisaka, Naomi. “UW Scientist Henry Lai Makes Waves in the Cell Phone Industry.” Seattle Magazine, 2011.
Ledford, Brandon. “Cell Phones, Electromagnetic Radiation, and Cancer: A Study of Author Affiliation, Funding, Bias, and Results.” Proceedings of the Policy Studies Organization, no. 11, 2010.
This 2010 paper detailed a qualitative and quantitative review of the current research with statistical analysis and concludes “there appears to be a relationship between the place of funding or author affiliation of a study and whether or not the author(s) find a correlation between cell phones and cancer.”
Systematic reviews of the influence of financial interests in medical research have found strong associations between industry sponsorship and pro-industry conclusions.
Bekelman, Justin E., Li, Yan and Cary P. Gross. “Scope and impact of financial conflicts of interest in biomedical research: a systematic review.” Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 289, no. 4, 2003, pp. 454-65.
This 2003 review found widespread relationships between industry, scientific investigators, and academic institutions.
CONCLUSIONS: Financial relationships among industry, scientific investigators, and academic institutions are widespread. Conflicts of interest arising from these ties can influence biomedical research in important ways.”
Yaphe, J. ,et al. “The association between funding by commercial interests and study outcome in randomized controlled drug trials.” Family Practice, vol. 18, no. 6, 2001, pp. 565-8.
This 2001 study found an association between source of support of research and published outcomes of randomized controlled drug trials in general interest medical journals.
Systematic reviews of the influence of financial interests in environmental health have found strong associations between industry sponsorship and pro-industry conclusions.
Friedman, Michael and Lee Friedman. “Financial Conflicts of Interest and Study Results in Environmental and Occupational Health Research.” Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, vol. 58, no. 3, 2016, pp. 238-47.
A 2016 comprehensive analysis published in the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine found a relationship between financial conflict of interest and a potential publication bias in environmental and occupational health studies concludes:
Conclusions: Our findings show a clear relationship between direction of reported findings and specific types of financial COI.”
Ruff, Kathleen. “Scientific journals and conflict of interest disclosure: what progress has been made?” Environmental Health, vol. 14, no. 45, 2015.
This 2015 published commentary “addresses the failure of the scientific community to create an effective mechanism to protect the integrity of the scientific literature from improper influence by vested interests.” 5 prominent journals are used as examples by the author showing the failure of COPE member journals (with initiatives to establish international standards for Conflict of Interest (COI) disclosure) to comply with COPE’s Code of Conduct.
Additional Documentation on Conflicts of Industry in Health and Environmental Health Research
Baur X, et al. “Ethics, morality, and conflicting interests: How questionable professional integrity in some scientists supports global corporate influence in public health.” International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, vol. 21, no. 2, 2015, pp. 172–5.
Bes-Rastrollo, Maira, et al. “Financial Conflicts of Interest and Reporting Bias Regarding the Association between Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Weight Gain: A Systematic Review of Systematic Reviews.” PLoS Medicine, vol. 10, no. 12, 2013.
Dunn, Adam G., et al. “Conflict of interest disclosure in biomedical research: a review of current practices, biases, and the role of public registries in improving transparency.” Research Integrity and Peer Review, vol. 1, no. 1, 2016.
A 2016 article in Research Integrity and Peer Review found conflicts of interest are common and underreported and that these COI introduce biases that lead to harm
Rosner, David and Gerald Markowitz. “The politics of lead toxicology and the devastating consequences for children.” American Journal of Industrial Medicine, vol. 50, no. 10, 2007, pp. 740-56.
“Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice.” Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice, 2009.
Heath, David. “Meet the ‘rented white coats’ who defend toxic chemicals. How corporate-funded research is corrupting America’s courts and regulatory agencies” The Center for Public Integrity, 2016.
The 2016 article by the Center for Public Integrity details a story of asbestos litigation involving Peter Valberg, a former professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, and then a principal at the environmental consulting firm Gradient Corporation. According to the article, Evan Nelson of the law firm Tucker Ellis & West needed a scientist willing to publish a theory in a medical journal so that this science could be used win lawsuits and released emails detail how Peter Valberg “wrote back within hours, calling Nelson’s scientific theory “very intriguing.” He was game to try to disseminate it in peer-reviewed journals. He later sent Nelson a contract agreeing to write the first of three articles and even offered him a 10-percent discount. In the meantime, Valberg would adopt Nelson’s theory as an expert witness in lawsuits, using it against mesothelioma victims such as Pam Collins of Bellevue, Ohio..”
Peter Valberg is now an expert witness on the issue of radiofrequency radiation. Read the final paragraph of the article:
“Why are some of these companies putting so much money into research to be published in scientific and medical journals years and sometimes decades after they stop making the product?” Acton asked rhetorically. “Is its purpose for the advancement of medicine? Is its purpose to address a public health concern? Its purpose is for litigation. It’s science for sale.”
Caulfield, Timothy. “Profit and the production of the knowledge: the impact of industry on representations of research results.” Harvard Health Policy Review, vol. 8, no. 1, 2007, pp. 51-60.
Gøtzsche et al. “Ghost Authorship in Industry-Initiated Randomised Trials.”. PLoS Medicine, vol. 4, no. 1, 2007.
Conclusions: Ghost authorship in industry-initiated trials is very common. Its prevalence could be considerably reduced, and transparency improved, if existing guidelines were followed, and if protocols were publicly available.”
Joly, Yann, Flora Wahnon and Bartha Maria Knoppers. “Impact of the Commercialization of Biotechnology Research on the Communication of Research Results: North American Perspective.” Harvard Health Policy Review, vol. 8, no. 1, 2007.
Sharma, R.S. “Radio Frequency Radiations and Human Health: An Indian Scenario.” George Washington University, 2015.
“Any study in my country which is funded by private industry, I am not going to accept it” stated Dr. RS Sharma, Indian government Senior Scientist, Deputy Director General & Scientist of the Indian Council of Medical Research. Dr Sharma reviewed the research showing genetic damage and health effects from wireless exposures which are informing India’s new telecommunications policy. He put a slide up showing an analysis by Chris Busby and Roger Coghill in 2006 detailing how the majority of industry funded studies on radiofrequency radiation indicate no effect from EMR radiation and the majority of independent studies do show adverse effects.