'Positive results' in WTR Brain Tumor Epi Study

Reprinted with permission of Microwave News
Copyright 1999 Microwave News
p. 19, March/April 1999

WTR [Wireless Technology Research group] has found links between cellular phone use and brain cancer, Dr. George Carlo told Microwave News.

"We have some positive results that will require further study," Carlo said. "It's clear that these findings will rattle some cages." The new study...

That's the article that we might have run if we weren't more skeptical. Carlo made the statements quoted above in an April interview, dangling the "positive results" in front of us the way you might tease a dog with a juicy bone.

Carlo made it clear that he wanted us to do a major story. And we nearly did -- until we talked with the study's principal investigator, Joshua Muscat. "To say that I have positive findings is not really correct," Muscat told us. "When George Carlo says that I have positive findings, it really is in terms of a couple of isolated ways of analyzing the data. I would not say it is indicative of what we found" (see p.7).

What's going on?

Just as WTR's bank account starts to run dry, Carlo has started to say there might be something to cell phone worries after all. Pardon our cynicism, but we've wondered if the two might be connected.

Carlo has also hailed the WTR's genotoxicity results as "a very important finding." But concerns about RF/MW exposure and genetic damage have been around for a long time, and WTR never seemed too worried before. Five years ago, Lai and Singh announced that RF/MW exposure could produce breaks in DNA. Read the Lai-Singh letter on pp 12-13 to see how WTR follows up on interesting results.

In fact, WTR destroyed its own credibility long ago. It still won't say how much of its $25 million went into research grants. It can't cover up years of inaction by hyping ambiguous results.

We don't mean that there's nothing of interest in WTR's gene tox findings, or in the Muscat study. There is an urgent need for more research on wireless safety, and it's only right that industry should fund it. But that research should be run by a government health agency -- not by WTR.

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