Wargaming the Science on Cell Phones and Health

 

Reprinted from the Pt. Reyes Light:

War gaming the science on cell phones and health risks: A conversation with journalist Mark Dowie

We’ve been documenting the development of wireless microwave devices and the independent science on its effects for the past 20 years. So we were delighted by a recent confluence of events: the release of the National Toxicology Program peer-reviewed study and the publication of an article in The Nation, “How Big Wireless Convinced Us Our Cell Phones Are Safe,” focused on how industry war-gamed the science.Soon after, a major study was released in Italy that replicated the results of the National Toxicology Project study. Both found that the same rare cancers appeared in animal subjects exposed to both high and low levels of radio frequency electromagnetic radiation.We couldn’t resist interviewing Inverness resident Mark Dowie about all of it. Mark is a celebrated investigative reporter and historian, the author of many books, the winner of at least 19 journalism awards, a former publisher and editor of Mother Jones Magazine and the co-author with Mark Hertsgaard of the recent Nation article. Here is our conversation.

Jim: How did you decide to write this story?

Mark: [Mark] Hertsgaard, who’s the investigative editor of The Nation, asked me to do a big story on cell phones. I looked at the literature and found that cell phones have been beaten to death. It’s a shop-worn story, impossible to advance.

So I said, “I think the story is how industry has been war gaming science”—‘war gaming’ is their term, not mine—and gave him the history going back to military research that was done on microwaves during the Cold War, then up to the present, and how so much of it has been suppressed, classified, hidden and distorted by wireless defenders who tore pages from the playbooks of the tobacco and fossil fuel industries, then used the same P.R. firms, the same law firms. All to do the same thing: manufacture doubt about the harmfulness of this technology. Hertsgaard said, “Okay. Let’s go with that.”

Jim:  Did you find anything surprising that you didn’t expect?

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