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The famous Interphone Cellphone Study is greatly flawed

A group of 50 experts has shown that the the Interphone study covering 13 countries is deeply flawed.

After thorough analysis they concluded that it has several serious methodological flaws, all of which distort the result in the same direction, so that the risk of cancer seems considerably smaller than it really is.

This is highly suspect. If the errors were caused accidentally, or due to ignorance (which is highly unlikely because many highly competent researchers were involved), at least some of the errors would have had the opposite effect. A fairly good measure of skill and creativity is required to be able to distort an epidemiological study in a way that all the flaws cause a dimininuition of the apparent risk. Here is a list of the most important flaws.

Deficiencies in Interphone study

  • Insufficiently exposed subjects were included. It is very well known that brain tumors appear after at least 10-15 years of exposure to radiation. A significant majority of the subjects had been exposed for less than 10 years (the result is a great underestimation of risk).
  • Exclusion of exposed people. Users of the cordless phones were considered “unexposed” to microwaves, although the exposure to this radiation is the same as from mobile phones (this gives the false impression that brain tumors occur more frequently than they actually do among unexposed persons, which is an imporant source of error, because the use of cordless phones is very widespread).
  • Exclusion of children and young adults. This is a serious deficiency, because young people are particularly prone to develop brain tumors (again, this leads to an underestimation of risk).
  • Exclusion of many types of brain tumors  causes an underestimation of risk.
  • Exclusion of people who had died of brain tumors, or were too ill to be interviewed. This causes an underestimation of the risk.
  • A too large proportion of invited people refused to participate (41%). The general opinion among scientists is that when such a large proportion has refused to participate in a study, it precludes the possibility to make reliable conclusions. Scientific journals do not usually accept reports from trials with such a large proportion of refusals because it is considered to have no scientific value.

This is fraudulent science

These flaws are so numerous, serious and elementary that it seems extremely unlikely that they have occurred by accident. In plain language, this is most likely the case of fraudulent research.

These flaws are of the same nature as those found in other industry-sponsored studies, see Research misconduct behind industry-sponsored studies?
It seems likely that many of the participant reachers have been openly or covertly industry-sponsored, because no competent or serious research institutions would want to participate in so flawed research out of concern for its reputation (a researcher or an institution’s reputation is important for its credibility and ability to receive research grants – if they do participate, there is the danger that they become completely dependent on the industry for funding, because independent funds do not support researchers and research institutes that produce obviously flawed studies).

The study is meaningless – confirms what is known since long time

The study is basically meaningless. If it would have lacked said methodological shortcomings, it would, at most, have proved what one already knows, namely that it takes more than 10 years to develop visible brain tumors.

The suspicion arises that the industry wanted to make a big media story of a this useless material in the same way as many times before when it sponsored studies on people with too short exposition to develop brain tumors. Every time that such a study was published, the industry made a global media drive using it for “informing” people that cell phone radiation is harmless.

Source 1: Hardell group’s re-analysis of the Interphone methods

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