Message from Susan Foster, Member of IEMFA

Important part of the debate about the safety of cell phones play websites of the organizations responsible for setting safety standards and evaluation of the science. When information on such websites is insufficient, or arbitrarily altered, concerned citizens search for it elsewhere, what is not always a good thing.

Below is a letter from Susan Foster to IARC. Letter is published with the permission of the author.



April 5, 2013

Dear Drs. Baan, Straif, and Gaudin:

Many of us have watched with great concern as the WHO website has changed from its original announcement of IARC’s 2B classification of RF – EMF to its present dilution of an incredibly important message.  The World Health Organization website now reads very much like the US Federal Communications Commission website, which is openly biased toward industry. It appears the website has been diluted in stages.

Recent comments by Mike Repacholi in a guest blog for Dariusz Leszczynski’s “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” elevated my concern, and I have been in touch with colleagues in various countries to find they share the same concern that WHO is showing an undisguised bias toward industry.  The world relies on WHO for independence.  That was called into question when Mona Nilsson exposed Prof. Anders Ahlbom’s close association as a silent partner is his brother’s Basel, Switzerland lobbying business — with telecom as one of the biggest clients.  We questioned how many years Prof. Ahlbom and perhaps others had “held back” the science.  It was a question impossible not to consider.

Yet the 2B vote offered hope that IARC had indeed treated the growing body of science with greater fairness, and would continue to do so.

Now the fairness seems to be called into question again. Quite honestly, it was shocking to read the WHO website links compare RF – EMF to coffee.  In addition, the following quote on EHS suggests the influence industry appears to have on WHO.  With respect to electro-sensitivity, the WHO website states: “There are also some indications that these symptoms may be due to pre-existing psychiatric conditions as well as stress reactions as a result of worrying about EMF health effects, rather than the EMF exposure itself.”  Because EHS or ES is a combination of neurological and immunological symptoms, and the majority of those physical manifestations have been scientifically linked to exposure to RF – EMF, it is offensive that WHO would use a telecom-industry argument that focuses on “underlying psychiatric conditions” and “stress reactions as a result of worry about EMF health effects”.  The latter suggestion is the typical risk-perception argument used by industries under fire for causing harm that wish to deflect from the harm itself.  It is inappropriate coming from WHO, and it raises concern on many levels.

Below is Michael Repacholi’s guest blog and his comments referencing WHO fact sheets on mobile phones, base stations, and hypersensitivity.

Mike Repacholi on March 17, 2013 at 16:06 said:

I understand your concerns and all I can do is pass you onto the WHO fact sheets that address your concerns:
Mobile phones:
Base stations:

* * *
The change in tone from your press released issued in May 2011 [] to many of the statements made in all sections of the above links is disturbing.  This is a direct quote from the current WHO website, specifically with reference to mobile phones:

The international pooled analysis of data gathered from 13 participating countries found no increased risk of glioma or meningioma with mobile phone use of more than 10 years. There are some indications of an increased risk of glioma for those who reported the highest 10% of cumulative hours of cell phone use, although there was no consistent trend of increasing risk with greater duration of use. The researchers concluded that biases and errors limit the strength of these conclusions and prevent a causal interpretation.

Yet in your Press Release dated May 31, 2011 you state in your first paragraph:

The WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified radiofrequency electromagnetic field as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer associated with wireless phone use.”

Gentleman, you know there was a 40% increase in glioma and acoustic neuroma found in the Interphone Study, with highest users classified as using their phones 30 minutes per day.  In today’s world, 30 minutes per day is minimal.  Yet your website would lead the average reader — who cared to look for relevant facts pertaining to cell phone risks — in the wrong direction.  Is this what IARC truly intended with the 2B classification of RF –  EMF?

Many of us are concerned and we are looking to you for honest clarification.  We do indeed hope IARC can help to prevent a similar catastrophe and vast cover-up that is the legacy of the tobacco industry — a public health-nightmare that continues to this very day.

With Kind Regards,

Susan Foster, MSW
Rancho Santa Fe, California, USA
Member, International EMF Alliance
Advisor, EM Radiation Research Trust (UK)
Original Author, Resolution 15, International Association of Firefighters


7 thoughts on “Message from Susan Foster, Member of IEMFA

  1. Pingback: WHO & Mike Repacholi - Institute for Geopathology SA

  2. Pingback: Folkets Strålevern – Message from IEMFA member Susan Foster

  3. I would like to bring to your attention, that the IEMFA website seems to be blocked for several day’s! Corporate influence?

    Since you are a member of this international group, I thought you like to know.
    Keep up the great work!

    Best regards,

    Marcus Schluschen

  4. For more than a month, I’ve been suffering from tinnitus, after the rashes in January & piercing head ache & neck pain for a year or more; my dog also was treated by his vet for coughing & vomiting in March, as my yellow bells’ leaves completely turned yellow & somewhat burned brown ’til the leaves are already countable now. In the same way, a tree behind our house that’s of the very direction of cell tower disc is completely yellowish unlike some surrounding plants…would that still be considered psychosomatic? That truly is the most ridiculous idea esp. for a man who plays ignorant after all the established independent researches of Medical Physicists & doctors.

  5. Thank you to Susan Foster for posting important observations with regards to the WHO website. The WHO’s misrepresentation of the 2b classification should be called into question at a Government level and fully investigated.

    I am absolutely horrified to hear that the WHO website is ridiculing people who suffer with EHS by suggesting that these symptoms may be due to pre-existing psychiatric conditions as well as stress reactions as a result of worrying about EMF health effects.

    What sort of society are we living in when those in positions of power are ridiculing the most vulnerable in society?

    It is not just humans that are suffering from EMFs. Many animal studies have also shown biological effects. The effects of EMR are being felt by wildlife and the environment as a whole, Birds, bees, worms, trees are all being affected.

    Is the animal kingdom and the environment suffering from psychiatric conditions as well as stress reactions as a result of worrying about EMF health effects? I’ve never heard such a ridiculous statement in all my life. I am horrified to hear that such ignorance exists and on the WHO website of all places. It is absolutely shocking!

    Well done once again to Susan Foster for posting such an important letter for discussion.

    Eileen O’Connor
    EM Radiation Research Trust

  6. Susan, thank you for sending this letter. As you say, many people refer to the WHO website for information and are being falsely reassured/misled. The fact sheet on EHS is a great injustice for bona fide EHS-sufferers. It is scandalous that the WHO is stigmatising them on the basis of a far-from-complete scientific ‘understanding’ of EHS. Needless to say this kind of negation of EHS is most beneficial to the wireless industry.

    The information and advice given by the WHO on EHS has far-reaching consequences: how is it possible to monitor or track EHS accurately when physicians have been advised to ignore any possible influence of EMFs in the causes/treatment of sufferers or have never heard of the condition in the first place? Understanding of EHS has effectively been stopped in its tracks at grass-roots level. Australia follows the WHO’s advice and does not recognise EHS as an environmental illness. [Please read thoughts on this topic in the note at “Has W.H.O. advice blinded health authorities to identifying relevant factors for Australian youth?”:
    “In 2011 the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare issued a report on ‘Young Australians: their health and wellbeing 2011’. The report identifies four ‘Emerging areas of concern’:
    1. Sleep disorders
    2. Media and communication
    3. Environmental issues
    4. Emotional symptoms of ill health
    All four of these areas are implicated by or closely connected to electromagnetic fields (EMF) exposures in one way or another, and yet EMFs have not been identified or mentioned as a possible physical contributing factor for any of them…”]

    Here in Australia, ARPANSA is the organisation responsible for the setting of RF standards and it closely follows the lead of WHO and ICNIRP. The ARPANSA website gives another prime example of the role of websites in controlling the conversation: In their recently published ‘Fact Sheet 14’ which offers precautionary advice to the Australian public on “How to reduce exposure from mobile phones and other wireless devices”, the body of the fact sheet omits mention of the IARC classification of RFR as a 2B carcinogen entirely. One has to question why this omission has occurred when the IARC classification is the single most obvious reason for the creation of the fact sheet in the first place. Is it an effective strategy to warn the public without letting them know what it is they are being warned about? I suspect that the reason the public are being treated like children in this way is purely political – protective of industry rather than of public health.

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