30
Nov
2004

Essex EHS study

Everyone who this email reaches: do pass this on to your local circulation lists.

I feel this is important for us all, and for all those who have the headaches, sleeplessness, skin problems, nosebleeds, depression or whatever.

Today I visited Essex for the grand opening of their EMF laboratory by Sir William Stewart. I found it stimulating to talk to some key figures and directly with the research team, but I am tired, so if you are a recipient who was also there and can add, or comment further, please do, and send it back through the network. This is my personal impression.

The Essex team won the MTHR contract and its extension in fair competition, based on their proposed methodology of simulated GSM and UMTS signals in an isolated environment under double blind conditions. We can still question the methodology (I do!) but the setup is indeed professional, the test signals appear to be well designed; and with different exposure scenarios would be indeed more valid. If we can encourage extra funding beyond this study, I do believe they are open to improvements in sophistication of their exposure regime (called provocations: can you deliberately create a physical response, such as is caused in the real world?), would include TETRA and more complex environments.

They recognise as we do, that in the case of electro-sensitive people (I contest "hypersensitive" until two levels have been demonstrated), unless double-blind provocations are demonstrated, we will be forever designated misguided or psychosomatic. Can we help them get it right?

I still feel it is best to have this dialogue, be involved, and indeed openly critical as necessary. Rod Read (ES-UK) is similar in his criticisms, as is Alasdair Philips who helped get their questionnaire sorted out, and others. If we do not get involved, psychologists will behave as psychologists do. Let's face it, we can't expect them to understand what it is like to be affected by masts (I don't believe any of the team is e-sensitive). But nor do I think they are actually starting with the presumption that this is psychosomatic. The more objective, critical, well-considered and thoughtful information we can supply them with the better. They have our critiques already (part one of mine is MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt from ""claiming to be //www.tetrawatch.net/science/research_models.pdf ) and the RALF unpublished submissions from ES people in Sweden (the "missing report" currently on MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt from "" claiming to be //www.feb.se/index_int.htm ).

I put it to several of the researchers, including Elaine Fox, that being a psychology dept. Is a real barrier to getting genuine participants: why psychology? Elaine's response is that of all researchers, they are better at dealing with people as subjects than, say, the physicists. Their team is multidisciplinary. It's a bit like going to your Regional Health Protection Agency Director of Communicable Diseases demanding investigations around masts -- because they are the best epidemiologists, not because masts immediately cause disease. I don't class Essex with King's College, where the presence of Simon Wessely hangs as a dark cloud (read Tetrawatch on him, if you want more info.).

Remember, this is the ONLY UK investigation into base stations and sensitivity: we must not let it enter the body of research for perpetuity as a study unable to demonstrate an effect, or as being inconclusive, without the researchers being obliged to challenge their own methodology. The more dialogue there is, the more we can, with authority, challenge its methodology and demand better studies. But for now, having spoken with all concerned, I do think that it intends to be fully objective and fair.

So Essex needs more ES people to volunteer. I am taking part, but I am only mildly ES, and only more recently to GSM and UMTS (3G).

Will it harm me? I don't think it will (count the gaps! Several 5 minute exposures or sham exposures in 20 minute sessions, and even longer in their Faraday-shielded rooms with no EMF at all, will be a holiday after sleeping with 6 masts each and every night); but if you are very sensitive you might rightly choose to avoid ANY exposure. BUT, if you are sensitive and want others to see clearly that you are representative of the many thousands who need help, please do two things:

My APPEAL

1) Write down, email, post, read on the phone (01903 522521), YOUR experience of how masts of any kind (please name) affect you. Just a couple of paragraphs, and send them to me at watch@tetrawatch.net. YES: I want anecdotes!! I know you have probably done "a day in the life of..." for Nancy at Mast Sanity, or elsewhere, but bear with me. With Rod's help at ES-UK, I would like to "bank" as many as possible, because too many important people have been shielded from the actual content of our anecdotes, and I want it out and published. No names, just places and experiences, in your own words. A thousand people in three weeks have download a little local survey we did (popped the Tetrawatch website bandwidth at the weekend!), so let's use this way to be heard for what is happening to us, so we cannot be ignored.

2) Consider joining in the Essex study. I don't have to prove anything, but when the study is set up correctly it will show an effect on people. Remember, this is not a study to demonstrate illness, but to demonstrate that some people are sensitive to mobile signals that affects their well-being. "We couldn't even find enough ES people: do they really exist?" would be a terrible comment after our objections. If you can't track Essex down, contact me as above.

If they can get a full complement of ES people who are affected by masts, and they get no results, their setup is wrong, not us. I know the criticisms, and I am pressing for proper investigations; but gears don't turn, even slowly, without engagement. (I am not being paid be Essex to do this! I just hope you can see why I think it important.)

Why does this matter?

Today I found senior figures genuinely surprised to meet someone who can feel masts from a distance. I thought everyone knew these "anecdotes". Most, if not all, of my and your letters to Sir William Stewart (marked "Private, Confidential" "to the hand of Sir W") never reached him. They were intercepted and answered "on his behalf". BUT Sir William in his address today said quite clearly that we need to demonstrate that people's well-being is being affected, that this (Essex) research is to clarify this, and that we need to respond to these impacts BEFORE we know the bio-electromagnetic mechanisms (remember: NRPB typically says we don't know the mechanisms so the effects cannot be real?).

So at the moment I trust Sir W far more than the NRPB / HPA figures we deal with, and it's time we back him up with a willingness to be measured for what we claim is happening.

Thanks for your patience

Andy Davidson
TETRAWATCH and Mast Sanity
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