Thursday, 25 February 2021

EMF sceptic now in key UK radiation committee


Back in 2019, the BBC broadcast a programme called Health: Truth or Scare, which included a segment that dismissed claims that wireless radiation is harmful (see my blog post 'Mobile Phones: BBC Bias'). One of the BBC's chosen experts was Professor Malcom Sperrin, Director of the Department of Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust (or Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, depending on whichever website you look at).

This is what he said in this programme: 

"There's no evidence that suggests you should worry".

Professor Sperrin's name now appears in the membership list of COMARE (Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment), which advises the UK Government on 'the health effects of natural and man-made radiation, both ionising and non-ionising'.

COMARE has been attempting to recruit 'a radiation scientist with interest in non-ionising radiation' for quite some time, as can be seen from the minutes of the 121st meeting. There is a significant lag between each meeting and the release of the minutes, so we don't yet have the minutes of the 127th meeting, which would have taken place in (or around) November 2020. However, it appears that Professor Sperrin may have been recently appointed, as his name doesn't appear on previous meeting minutes.

Whether he is involved as a non-ionising radiation expert, or an expert on ionising radiation, is not known. However, given his past output on the subject of wireless technologies, his inclusion on this committee is concerning, as it appears to bias the committee even more than it was before towards the ICNIRP thermal effects-only paradigm (i.e. that exposure to non-ionising radiation, within current limits, is essentially safe).

Professor Sperrin has form; he has been denying that WiFi, mobile phones, mobile masts, and so on, are harmful for many years. The first article that I have found in which he does this appeared following the broadcast of the seminal BBC Panorama programme, WiFi: A Warning Signal, in 2007 (this programme attracted a furious response from a number of  individuals - well, two, it appears - as well as from the then ICNIRP Chairman, Dr Mike Repacholi). 

Professor Malcom Sperrin: "
The type of radiation emitted by radio waves (wi-fi), visible light, microwaves and mobile phones has been shown to raise the temperature of tissue at very high levels of exposure - called a thermal interaction - but there is no evidence that low levels cause damage".

Since then, Professor Sperrin has appeared regularly in the media to debunk myths concerning the safety of wireless technologies; for example, he is included in a number of expert opinions published by the 'Science Media Centre', and is a regular BBC contributor.

In response to the Italian court ruling on brain tumours and mobile phone use. he said:

"It is not clear what reliable scientific evidence has been submitted to justify a perceived link between mobile exposure and risk.  Great caution is needed before we jump to conclusions about mobile phones and brain tumours".

COMARE took over responsibility for non-ionising radiation after the former Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation (AGNIR) was abruptly disbanded in May 2017. Coincidentally or not, this followed the publication of a highly critical paper, written by Dr Sarah Starkey, concerning conflicts of interest and scientific cherry-picking at the AGNIR.

The inclusion of Professor Malcolm Sperrin in COMARE surely raises legitimate concerns about the impartiality of this key committee, and its ability to provide objective and precautionary advice and information to the UK Government.

COMARE has already been the subject of a formal complaint by the UK & Commonwealth EMF Action Group (the specific details of which have not been publicised), and the appointment of Professor Sperrin to this committee, whether or not he is there as an expert on non-ionising radiation, will presumably be greeted with dismay by many.

Further Information:

Real-life story - Professor Malcolm Sperrin - NHS

WHO says cell phone use "possibly carcinogenic" - Reuters, 31st May 2011

Italy: Supreme Court Ruling on Mobile Phones and Tumors - Library of Congress, 23rd October 2012

Could wifi harm our health? IOL, 24th November 2014

Mobiles do NOT cause brain cancer: Scientists put decades of fears to bed by reassuring there is no scientific evidence phones lead to the disease - Mail, 23rd April 2019

Glastonbury residents sign petition to BAN 5G ahead of music festival: here's why - Mirror, 13th June 2019

Hampstead solicitor raises more than £32,000 in bid to stop the roll-out of 5G - Ham&High, 15th May 2020


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