Editor, The Times:
It is clear from Ms. Gregson Dec. 29 letter to the editor (“Writer rebuts Telus spokesperson”) that she rejects the conclusions of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Health Canada in favor of her own research on biological effects of lower power electromagnetic fields (EMF).
We fully respect Ms. Gregson’s right to her own opinion. However, Health Canada is the legislated regulatory authority on these matters and all operators of radio equipment in Canada must comply with the regulations, there are no exceptions.
Ms. Gregson correctly points out that there have been many research studies in this field and they sometimes arrive at different conclusions.
She also suggests there is a bias against “independent” research studies that claim to identify negative health effects. Whether you accept her allegations of bias or not there is no question that some research studies are so poorly conducted that the results simply aren’t useful.
For example, Ms. Gregson referenced the work of Taraka Seranno who uses the Naila (Germany) study to support his claims of adverse health effects. The Naila study made headlines 10 years ago when it alleged dramatic increases in adverse health effects but it was subsequently dismissed by Germany’s Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BFS).
Why? Well, the BFS found that the independent researchers had misrepresented the radio frequency exposure measurements, failed to obtain an adequate sample size, and did nothing to account for other known health risks (smoking, diet, obesity, alcohol) in their sample.
Since then, the BFS has commissioned 54 studies at a cost of 17 million Euros but has been unable to verify any of the claims of the Naila study.
It is the job of the experts at agencies such as BFS, Health Canada, WHO and accredited academic and regulatory agencies around the world to analyze these studies, determine which are credible, and use the best available science to establish regulations to safeguard public health.
Regardless of who funds the research, I’m sure we would all agree that we want the results to be valid.
Jim Johannsson, P.Eng.
TELUS director, public consultation
Editor’s Note: The letter writer has provided this comment from the BFS analysis of the Naila study: “The authors state in the paper that measurements done by the Bayerischen Landesamt für Umweltschutz showed that radiation intensities in the inner area are about 100 times higher than in the outer area and significantly higher than other emitting electromagnetic waves, such as radio, television and radar. According to a communication from the Bayerischen Landesamt für Umweltschutz (by 15.12.2004) this statement is not true.”