The effects of radiation emitted by smartphones and ohter mobile devices has yet to be completely determined by the scientific community. However, there are critics who have accused scientists of bias in their research on radiation. This accusation has been leveled at the scientists who are part of the Royal Society of Canada’s review panel of Safety Code 6. Safety Code 6 deals with limits for exposure to radiofrequency fields, such as those generated by smartphones, cell phone towers and WiFi signals. Recently, two of the official peer reviewers of the panel’s report have come forward with claims that that the panel has shown bias.
Dr. Anthony Miller, MD, of the University of Toronto, and Dr. Martin Blank, PhD., Columbia University, have both criticized the expert panel reviewing Safety Code 6 for ignoring research that shows exposure to radiofrequency can be harmful to humans. Dr. Miller pointed out that a number of the panelists who authored the report have strong links to the telecommunications industry, which calls into question their impartiality. Furthermore, he commented that there are not enough scientists with backgrounds in epidemiology in his analysis of the panel’s findings.
“In contradistinction to the Panel, I start from the belief that when new technology is introduced, the burden of proof that it is safe is placed upon those who promote it, not on those who are concerned that there is a potential hazard from its introduction,” he said in his analysis. “But the Panel’s viewpoint has led it to concentrate on what it regards as ‘known adverse health effects,’ i.e. the Panel concluded that the human exposure limits in the Safety Code “are science-based and do reflect the current state of knowledge regarding health effects,’ relegating those it does not classify as adverse to a grouping where ‘Health Canada should continue to monitor the literature for emerging evidence and that it aggressively pursue scientific research aimed at clarifying the RF energy-cancer issue.'”
Dr. Blank’s analysis echoed his colleague’s concern. “Despite its length and seeming breadth of coverage, the report contains deficiencies which lead to questions about its conclusions,” he wrote in his analysis. “Central to any study of safety is the criterion used to assess effects. It is important to note, as indicated in the following quote, that the report relies almost entirely on SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) for its assessment of risk…The focus on SAR means that many potentially relevant studies were not included or were dismissed.”
The Royal Society of Canada did not release a comment in regards to Drs. Miller and Blank’s analyses. Health Canada posted a statement on its website about the panel’s report, though. “Health Canada is committed to the health and safety of all Canadians. Canadians should be confident that our human exposure limits are some of the strongest-science based standards in the world. We will take all necessary action to protect Canadians and their families,” the statement said. “Health Canada reminds all Canadians that their health remains well protected from RF energy by the human exposure limits required by the current Safety Code 6. The current Safety Code establishes and maintains a human exposure limit that is far below the threshold for potential adverse health effects.”