A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

Uproar over Workshop on Heat Shock Proteins

No Consensus over “Consensus Statement”

July 22, 2004

Today, there has been another uproar about the accuracy of the reports of what goes on at RF scientific meetings. Dariusz Leszczynski of Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Helsinki is furious about the content of a so-called “Consensus Statement” coming out of a workshop on heat shock proteins (HSPs) held in Helsinki, April 28-29.

The statement, which has already been widely distributed, contains the following sentence in its opening paragraph: “Based largely on the evidence presented at the workshop, there is no substantiation of the hypothesis that RF exposures result in the induction of stress proteins.” This morning, Leszczynski wrote to Norbert Leitgeb, the chair of COST281, and Gerd Friedrich, its secretary, that this is “absolutely false.” Friedrich is the head of FGF, Germany’s wireless industry research group.

Leszczynski should have a good idea about what had happened at the workshop: He hosted the meeting and over the last few years he has published a number of papers showing that RF can activate HSPs.

In his e-mail, Leszczynski expressed surprise and disappointment that the consensus statement had been posted on the COST281 Web site. Soon afterwards, the statement was pulled from the Web. It is now undergoing another round of editing.

Leszczynski pointed out that the offending sentence was not in an earlier version of the consensus statement, which had been circulated in May. According to FGF, Martin Meltz of the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas, and Blair Henderson of Austria’s Innsbruck University had made the changes.

A report on the Helsinki HSP workshop also appeared in the Bioelectromagnetics Society (BEMS) newsletter and, as we noted in our recent commentary, “Industry Rules RF, ” this write-up prompted charges of biased reporting. In its workshop recap, BEMS neglected to even mention Leszczynski’s work.

(We continue to wonder why the society continues to allow Motorola to control its newsletter. Some of the criticism that has been directed at BEMS may explain the recent addition of a statement on the BEMS home page proclaiming that its mission is to encourage “excellence in scientific research.” Unfortunately, stating this does not make it so.)

Swicord is slated to speak at a workshop in Brussels this September. He will be on a panel on “Public Health Priorities for Future Research.” The title of his talk is: “Will a Review of Current and Ongoing Studies Provide Sufficient Information?”

Anyone want to bet that Swicord will call for more research to answer ongoing questions about RF effects on DNA breaks, the permeability of the blood-brain barrier and, of course, activation of HSPs?