Email to Mike Clark, Science Spokesman, HPA-RPD
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To: Andy Davidson
This is an open reply to your open letter of 12 October 2005.
As a rule I do not reply to letters that contain personal attacks. For example, you talk about a "pretty shoddy response" and your last paragraph accuses me of "…publicly excluding and denying science directions and perpetuating people’s suffering…" We have corresponded reasonably before, but in this case I am not going to respond in detail to your letter.
I was describing on Radio 4 what I believe is the current consensus view of scientists and the medical profession in this country and elsewhere, on the balance of published scientific evidence. There are some genuine uncertainties, and you and others may disagree with the judgement of AGNIR and WHO for example. However, their expert opinion based on evidence is highly relevant to any discussion of radio-frequency waves and health, and the public should be made aware of it.
To: Mike Clark
Thank you; no slight intended; the "shoddy", as I said, referred to the response of the operator. But operators listen to the HPA, and the message they get is "no definitive scientific proof".
But this does put the onus on the HPA to be more than a "current consensus" body. You have an active role to play here, and society does not stop at consensus when something appears to be wrong. You need dialogue, not stance. Those of us out here feeling frustrated are not out to rubbish the HPA, or you; but we do want to you see, to meet and to engage with real people, and to address the problems, not retreat behind consensus science.
WHO and AGNIR reviews do not address the points I make, therefore while they are relevant they are not the whole story, and their consensus also needs placing in context. The denial (though you feel it justified) that EHS exists as something related to EMR, means as a result that people clearly do suffer. The Health Protection Agency cannot walk away from the wealth of evidence just because they feel they can push EMR out of the picture. If the source of EHS is not EMR, then surely the HPA as a body responsible for public health needs to find out what it is that correlates EHS with EMR, that is not EMR! Therefore "No definitive scientific proof" is a wholly inadequate position at which to stop, whether these are the HPA's words or the HPA's position.
There are directions for research that are not adequately being addressed, that might help the people whose stories we hear every day. The accounts are neither fictitious not psychosomatic, and the people deserve better. The science indicating that EMR does cause specific bio-responses does not disappear behind consensus.
I understand that if you feel personally slighted you don't feel like addressing the real material content of my letter. It was meant well, it was meant seriously, and it was meant to be taken to heart by the HPA. And we do see denial from the HPA, we do see you walking away saying that everything we tell you is not that real. This so often is the actual public perception of the HPA, and of you as spokesperson. It isn't just me!
So I do not need a personal response to the very real issues I raised; but you do need to decide why it felt right to say that you knew of no evidence relating EMR and epilepsy. Because this is indeed material in the case being discussed, and it does relate to Nicola's suffering.
Is it really new to you? It didn't take me long to find the peer reviewed papers on this and realise their importance. If all I did was to raise a very realistic doubt on the matter, then unless I am obviously mistaken, this needs to be properly addressed. I strongly believe that the matter of EMR and nitric oxide synthases etc. is as highly relevant as the AGNIR review, and it is one you should be addressing as a matter of some urgency, and be seen to be addressing.