21
Jan
2005

Interphone study: Industry funded

Here are some interesting details I have just found out about the Interphone study funding:

On our Israeli Cancer Association's website, it is said that the Israeli arm of Interphone study is funded by the Israeli Cancer Association. Considering the fact that an executive of a cellular company is one of the director council members of the ICA, I tried digging further.

The same website says also that the Interphone study is funded by both "EU and the cellular companies (UICC)". But a search on the internet shows that the UICC is not the cellular companies website but it is actually the International Union Against Cancer.

I called them, they are located in Geneva (is it near the WHO building?....) and asked two representatives (one is an administrator in the director's office) whether the cellular companies fund the Interphone study through this organization, both confirmed, and the administrator was surprised I had learnt it from the Israeli website, because they (UICC) didn't write a word about it on the webiste. To my question why they don't publish this on their website, that they participate in funding the study, she said that it's because the study is not finished yet. She said that the organization is an intermediate and does not take the money to itself, only gives the money after the cellular companies give it to the organization.

I asked her- why would the companies do something like that (use the organization), she said- because we are an independent organization. I told her, so then they do it in order to improve their public image, so it won't look like that they are funding the study? She didn't know what to answer me, then she said well because they are concerned about the effects of mobile phones. But, I insisted, why don't they give the money directly, the concern [?..] does not interrupt them to give the money directly. She didn't have an answer. I asked her- can it be that they want people like me not to notice that they fund the study, and think that an independent body funds the study? Again, she didn't have an answer.

I asked her- who are the industries that pay for the studies through them- are they European or also the U.S? She said she is not involved in it but that they are an international organization so it could be any country, so then she added the most beautiful part- that the Israeli Cancer Association is a member in this international organization and showed me the link on the internet:
http://www.uicc.org/index.php?id=482
and you can see how many cancer associations are members their. So I guess that when our Israeli Cancer Association writes on the website that the Israeli arm of the study is funded by the Israeli Cancer association, then they mean the UICC and it means- by the industry... And the epidemiologist who leads the study is a lecturer in the Tel Aviv university on the issues of environment and guides doctorants on the subject of risks from cellular phones, while she is leading an industry funded study.

Iris Atzmon
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