Letter to the Royal Society of Canada

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Mar 9, 2013, 3:38:26 AM3/9/13
Dear Sir/Madam,

With every respect for the Royal Society of Canada's reputation for
professionalism and integrity, we are concerned about the constitution
of your expert panel for the 'Review of Safety Code 6: Potential Health
Risks of Radiofrequency Fields from Wireless Telecommunications
Devices.' There is at least the appearance of significant potential for
bias and/or conflict of interest among some of its members, and we urge
strongly that the Royal Society reconstitute the panel (even if it means
beginning the study afresh) solely of members with (i) no appreciably
material link, past or present, in their personal or professional lives
to the wireless telecommunications industry and (ii) who have not staked
an academic or otherwise public reputation on a specific view of the
adequacy of Health Canada's Safety Code 6 or the potential health
effects, or lack thereof, of radiofrequency fields from wireless
telecommunications devices. It would be regrettable for the
impartiality of any of your reports to be called into question, or for
the authority and reputation of the Royal Society to be compromised in
any way, and we are sure you would agree that those experts with such
links and/or existing positions ought to be removed from the panel.

While it is right and laudable for the Royal Society to have, as it
appears to have done, attempted to staff this panel with members from
diverse personal, professional and (somewhat diverse) geographical
backgrounds, only those individuals capable of approaching an expert
panel study with no potential for prejudice respecting the subject of
that study, and no appearance of potential for such prejudice, ought to
participate in that expert panel if it is designed to be "independent,
comprehensive and evidence-based input into the public policy
development process of Canada," as the Royal Society website describes
its work. We therefore, and without any wish to impugn the credibility
of these individuals generally, question the inclusion in this
particular panel of, for example, Dr. Daniel Krewski, who has been
involved in studies partially funded by the Canadian Wireless and
Telecommunications Association; Dr. Louise Lemyre, a close colleague of
Dr. Krewski and whose credentials in social psychology in any event
would appear ill-suited to a study of the biological effects of
radiofrequency radiation; Dr. Kenneth Foster, who has made an academic
position clear in a set of book reviews recently published in the
journal of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, in
which he expresses scepticism of claims of radiofrequency radiation
health effects; Dr. John Moulder, who is alleged to have "earned
hundreds of thousands of dollars disputing the existence of adverse EMF
health effects, even those accepted by most other members of the EMF
community" (Microwave News - http://microwavenews.com/RR.html); and Dr.
Frank Prato, who has made public statements questioning the wisdom of
precautionary measures by public authorities against potential health
effects from radiofrequency radiation, and thus holds an existing and
publicly stated position on the policy question.

The matter of health effects from radiofrequency radiation and the use
of wireless communication devices is one of the great looming public
policy concerns of our time, touching, because of the extensive
proliferation of wireless technologies, the health of nearly every
Canadian (including our susceptibility to cancer and neurological and
cardiac disorders, and our fertility and the integrity of our genetic
heritage), touching the politics and philosophy of precaution in public
policy, the question of corporate influence in public policy, and both
current and future health-care costs of all Canadian taxpayers. Before
a senior, respected and authoritative body like the Royal Society issues
serious and influential policy advice on a matter of such broad public
import, surely it would behoove the body to gather for that purpose a
panel of not only capable, qualified and knowledge-seeking but also
completely neutral-minded scientists whose sole purposes are to discover
the truth of the matter and make reasoned recommendations based on their
honest findings, untainted by bias or conflict of interest, the
potential for bias or conflict of interest or even the perception of
same. Any other course would be a profound disservice to Canadians, an
abdication of societal responsibility whose dangerous consequences could
resonate for generations to come. We trust the Royal Society will take
its moral position seriously, take every appropriate measure to maintain
the integrity of this expert panel report and in so doing retain the
deserved trust of right-thinking Canadians.

Yours faithfully,

Informant: Martin Weatherall

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