Invited by Lawrence Lessig from the Harvard Law School Franz Adlkofer held a lecture. An extended version is now available.
The exposure limits supposed to protect people from radiofrequency radiation are the result of institutional corruption Extended version of a presentation at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics of the Harvard Law School
There is no
technology that made its way as quickly and as extensively into people’s daily
life like wireless communication. In only 30 years, the number of cell phone
users has increased world-wide from zero to about five billion. Since our
knowledge on possible adverse effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields
is still rather poor, it is obvious that at present the biggest biophysical
experiment of mankind is under way – with an uncertain outcome.
assessment is based on the state of knowledge about biological effects of
radiofrequency radiation to which I have contributed during the past 15 years.
Before that time, I held a leading position in tobacco research in Germany for
about 20 years. In both areas it did not escape me, how through violation of
scientific principles, financial profit has been maximized at the expense of
disease and premature death of people. Exactly the same as what happened with
tobacco may now recur with the reckless application of radiofrequency electromagnetic
fields for technical purposes. And as in the past with tobacco, truth about the
increasing state of knowledge is again systematically suppressed.
My personal story within the history of
research on electromagnetic fields is only a tiny, but certainly drastic
episode that shows how far the industry is willing to go in order to defend its
vested economic interests. Under
in Action” on the Safra Center for Ethics website, I read that institutional
corruption tends to involve mostly legal practices that occur within social
norms. I do not doubt this, however, I have to add, that institutional
corruption may also involve illegal, even criminal practices if there is a good chance that their
use can be concealed.
will show on how the European Union (EU)-funded REFLEX study was treated when
its results were in contrast to what the wireless communication industry
expected. Then, I will look at the quality of research data when funding is
provided jointly by industry together with governments. Finally, I will
demonstrate that from the medical point of view the exposure limits for
radiofrequency radiation are based on pseudo-science. These three examples may
illustrate which role has been and still is assigned to science by the decision-makers
in industry and politics. Science is obviously thought to pave the way for the
assertion of economic-political interests through rendering health-political
interventions unnecessary. The problem is that this goal can only be achieved
with the practices of institutional corruption – at the cost of society.