Ben "Bad Science" Goldacre's claims

Bad Science » Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science column from the Guardian

Our response to Ben Goldacre's comments re. Panorama, WiFi, etc.

You may also like to link this page. Ben Goldacre et al claims have been widely circulated around the world. It is helpful if my response is easily available to people. Thanks


Ben Goldacre aka "Bad Science" and MOA / 'New' Labour link

I have just discovered that he was an invited guest speaker by the Mobile Phone Operators Association at last year's Labour party Conference (with Labour's favourite grocer Lord Sainsbury) - the title "Science fact or science fiction: How should politicians respond to media scare stories?".

His bias and affiliation is now obvious to everyone.

Some very good posts against Ben Goldacre. See



Letter from Sarah Dacre to Ben Goldacre for info.


To: Dr Ben Goldacre

I have a copy of your response to Paul and other individuals linked to the ES debate and your stance.

For the record, as an electro sensitive (medically proven overseas) I shall restrict my already limited computer access time to assisting the burgeoning number of ES/EHS cases from around the world by circulating solutions, which can help the condition. There are many thousands of ES logged onto various data bases and we all know what worsens the condition, it is such a simple process of elimination.

You would be well advised to study the relevant scientists such as Dr George Carlo's studies and those of Professor Olle Johansson rather than haranguing various ES individuals. I don't notice any appreciation from you for any correspondence from individuals already limited in their daily exposure to EMR. Many others are completely unable to access computers at all, 100% of the time and cannot respond to you or even participate in ludicrous psychologically driven experiments. The emphasis once placed on seeking subtle biological effects will find an explanation for ES.

I shall leave the banter about provocation studies (aka what will keep ES in a box for another 5-8 years) to those who are more able to spend hours on a computer.

Please do not expect to hear from me again.

With kind regards

S A Dacre


----- Original Message -----
From: David Fancy
Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2007 12:21 PM
Subject: EHS in Canada

Hello Ben,

Please allow me to share my experience with you. I am a unversity lecturer in drama and postcolonial studies at a Canadian University, with a PhD from Trinity College, Dublin. I understand from some colleagues here that although you are advocating compassion for people living with EHS, you are also suggesting that there is no evidence to link non-thermal effects of radiofrequency or other electromagnetic emissions to any adverse effects on human health.

Although I would happily send you research that confirms such effects
(and please let me know if you haven't seen any studies and I can point you in the right direction: the abstracts page at is a good place to start), I think what I would like to tell you is based on my own experience: I have had to literally move from house and home to live in the wilderness so as to simply be able to sleep at night as a result of sensitivity to cell phone tower signals.

I personally know many other people who have the same experience.

I have invested in expensive detection equipment chosen for me by engineering colleagues that have confirmed which spots are 'hot' and which not. Although I do not presume to fully understand the biophysiology of the matter, I am a trained researcher and know false positive correlations when I see them. In fact, I was very cautious 'coming out' as it were with my own experience in case I was somehow invoking a hypochondriac response to supposed sources of incitants. Five years of experience, as well as various improvements as a result of certain health regimes, have taught me that my initial intuitions on the subject were correct.

Another source of testimonials is the Black on White document geenrated by the Swedish Association for Electrosensitivity at . It includes 400 testimonials form EHS sufferers. Please note that Gro Harlem Bruntland, a former World Health Organization director left her post there as a result of her electrosensitivity. The man who developed the cell phone for Ericsson is now living in northern scandinavia out of radio and cell tower range as a result of the EHS he developed on the job.

Although it may go against current orthodoxy, I am convinced that before long, more studies that demonstrate non-thermal effects will find their way to the media. Again, thanks for the compassion, but if there's anything I can do to lead to to studies different than the ones you are reading, please let me know.

Dr David Fancy
Department of Dramatic Arts
Brock University
St Catharines

Informant: Martin Weatherall


Clinical Data on EMR Exposures

I send in a response to the BMJ!! Don't know if they will publish it. Lets see!!


Has anyone read the results of the REFLEX report, 2004? Twelve institutes in seven countries have found genotoxic effects and modified expressions on numerous genes and proteins after Radio frequency and extremely low frequency EMF exposure at low levels, below current international safety guidance, to living cells in-vitro. These results confirm the likelihood of long-term genetic damage in the blood and brains of users of mobile phones and other sources of electromagnetic fields. The idea behind the REFLEX study was to attempt replicate damage already reported to see if the effects were real and whether, or not, more money should be spent of research into the possible adverse health effects of EMF exposure. They concluded that in-vitro damage is real and that it is important to carry out much more research, especially monitoring the long-term health of people.

Dr Lai and Singh had previously found double strand DNA breaks in rat brains exposed to 2.45 GHz radiation Lai H, Singh NP. (1996) DNA Single- and double-strand DNA breaks in rat brain cells after acute exposure to low-level radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation. Int J Radiat Biol 69:513-521

Then there's the Ecolog report, 2000. A review of 220 pieces of peer reviewed and published research showing clear evidence for cancer and genetic damage from exposures below the guidelines.

Not to mention the Stewart Report, 2000, itself which states
1.18 ..there is now evidence, however , which suggests that there may be biological effects occurring at exposures below these guidelines..;

More evidence has accumulated since then. I ask you if microwave radiation were a drug and in lab tests it was found that double strand DNA breaks were occurring as a result of exposure in vitro and to animals in vivo, would it be ethical/allowed under guidelines to go on and test humans?

Moreover even if one did decide to go ahead and do provocation studies, wouldn't it be rather unusual to subject test subjects 'claiming EHS' to signals in an unshielded room in the centre of London as was the case in the Rubin study?

Provocation studies may have their place if properly done but this is merely tinkering at the edges. There is plenty of research (not mentioned here) including new epidemiological evidence showing adverse health effects from exposure to microwave radiation at current levels to justify reducing exposure levels as has been done in other countries.


Re: [Masts] FW: BMJ

The position being taken by Goldacre in his commentary that provocation studies are definitive in assessing electromagnetic radiation (EMR) health risks is simply incorrect. Current information on the pathological mechanism involved in EMR-related disease makes clear that laboratory constructs that do not have close approximation to real-world exposures are of little value in assessing these risks.

For the past five years, through our Safe Wireless Initiative project, we have operated the only post-market surveillance database in the world systematically collecting symptom information from thousands of patients suffering from the effects of various types of EMR exposure. In addition, we coordinate a network of clinicians who regularly share information about their experiences treating patients with these conditions, another important and unique resource. Thus, we do not rely solely on self-reported information but have corroboration from treating doctors. It is noteworthy that our post-market surveillance registry will open in the UK soon. This is an important public health step because in the UK, there are no reliable data on the incidence and prevalence of EMR- related conditions. With no real data, speculations are all the more misinformed.

We regularly share summary information from our registry database in various fora around the world, including a February 2007 presentation at the House of Commons, for the benefit of clinicians and patients alike. Goldacre seems to be relying only on one type of data in his assessment, while ignoring clinical realities.

Overall, our post-market surveillance data show patterns that suggest an emerging medical and public health problem.

There are symptom and pathology similarities among patients suffering from electro-hypersensitivity, multiple chemical sensitivities, alcohol- related disease as well as neuro-behavioral and learning disorders. We are now referring to the symptom constellations as Membrane Sensitivity Syndrome (MSS) and the increase in reports of symptoms consistent with MSS associated by patients with various EMR exposures has dramatically increased over the past 24 months.

It is noteworthy that concurrently in the past 24 months, the penetration of mobile phones has tripled globally, from one billion to three billion. WiFi has reached the highest penetration in history. Satellite radio is not far behind. All of these technologies rely on information-carrying radio waves, the trigger for non-thermal adverse biological responses and the cascade toward MSS.

In a majority of MSS cases, when EMR is removed from the patient’s environment, their acute symptoms subside. This is an important observation and indeed represents one of the Koch-Henle postulates for causation: If when the exposure is removed, the effect is diminished, there is evidence for cause and effect.

Pathology and experimental findings support a mechanistic underpinning: an environmentally induced genetic change that renders daughter cells to carry membrane sensitivity characteristics with most symptoms directly or indirectly the result of consequent disrupt of intercellular communication.

Therapeutic intervention regimens designed around known EMR mechanisms of harm have positively shown varying degrees of clinical symptom amelioration, another support for the causal hypothesis, but more importantly, a ray of hope for those afflicted and debilitated by these conditions.

It is a fact that every serious public health problem man has faced has first been identified through clinical observations, the historically confirmed first line of evidence for preventing epidemic spread of disease. It is a disservice to clinicians and patients when uninformed speculation serves to lessen the acuity with which important early signs that can alleviate suffering are seen and heeded.

Dr. George L. Carlo Science and Public Policy Institute 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW -- 7th Floor Washington, D.C. 20004 202-756-7744


BMJ new contra comment

Dr Elliott at Manchester University has been working for a number of years on Calcium receptors (and one of his published papers actually reports an electrical effect). I think those claiming the existence of EHS should point him to the studies at Loma Linda in the 1970s (e.g. Bawin, Adey et al 1976) which first showed that exposure to weak power frequency and RF electric fields caused significant calcium efflux in live cat brains. This approach is likely to be more persuasive than slagging off Mr Goldacre, a non scientist whose value judgements are not likely to be well supported by the peer reviewed literature. One plausible explanation for the disturbance to cognitive and neurological function alleged by EHS EMF-exposees is that disruption of calcium homeostasis may lead to neurological bioeffects, since [Ca2+]i is an accepted first and second messenger, and for that reason its cytosolic concentration is normally very low compared with other biological ions. Enforced release from calcium stores such as calmodulin could therefore have adverse and possibly hyperaesthetic effects.

Let's try to bring a little science into this debate!

Roger Coghill MA(Cantab), C Biol MI Biol MA (Environ Mgt)
sometime Senior Visitor, Emmanuel College, Cambridge


Rod Read ES-UK v Ben Goldacre


Why don't journalists mention the data?

Informant: Sandi


Blood boil


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