There are strange things happening in EMF research that those not involved in might wonder and not understand.

Two groups of scientists, with entirely opposing views on interpretation of the available scientific evidence, claim to represent the current consensus opinions on EMF and health. For the one group (ICNIRP), the consensus is that there is no harm whatsoever when the safety guidelines are strictly followed. For the other group (represented by 32 scientists seen below), harmful/deadly effects of EMF exposures are already proven and people are dying from the exposures-caused health effects.

Who is correct? Users are free to choose between the two interpretations of science and decide, scientifically (?), what science interpretation they agree with. However, most of the users, no matter what they say, has no scientific knowledge whatsoever to decide which interpretation is correct and which is not. So, debates within the myriads of discussion groups on social media, that claim which group of scientists is more correct, in fact, do not know what they are talking about.

This is the reality of the current debate on EMF and health – twilight zone at the best…

On July 9, 2021 I have received the following message from Dominique Belpomme (emphasis added):

_________________________________

From: Dominique Belpomme [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Friday, 9 July 2021 16.36
To: [email protected]
Subject: New paper

Dear Dariusz,
You will find here the respond to your blog concerning the work we have done.
The sample we have studied deals with real EHS people and not with non-EHS people.

Thank you very much for your attention.
Warm regards,

Dominique Belpomme

_________________________________

To this message was attached pdf of the article, just published in MDPI’s International Journal of Molecular Sciences:

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Review

The Critical Importance of Molecular Biomarkers and Imaging in the Study of Electrohypersensitivity. A Scientific Consensus International Report

Dominique Belpomme, George L. Carlo, Philippe Irigaray, David O. Carpenter, Lennart Hardell, Michael Kundi, Igor Belyaev, Magda Havas, Franz Adlkofer, Gunnar Heuser, Anthony B. Miller, Daniela Caccamo, Chiara De Luca, Lebrecht von Klitzing, Martin L. Pall, Priyanka Bandara, Yael Stein, Cindy Sage, Morando Soffritti, Devra Davis, Joel M. Moskowitz, S. M. J. Mortazavi, Martha R. Herbert, Hanns Moshammer , Gerard Ledoigt , Robert Turner, Anthony Tweedale, Pilar Muñoz‐Calero, Iris Udasin, Tarmo Koppel, Ernesto Burgio and André Vander Vorst

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[for those interested to see how thorough the review of this article was performed by the peer-reviewers appointed by the journal, here it is, freely available on internet: https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/22/14/7321/review_report ]

As it appears, the 32 scientists and activists  followed Dominique Belpomme and have published, in a peer-reviewed journal (sic!), a response/rebuttal to my scientific opinion published, on August 22, 2020, in my personal science blog ‘BRHP – Between a Rock and a Hard Place’.

It is very unusual to respond to blog post in peer-reviewed journal.

It means, the 32 co-authors, who signed the review article, considered my critical opinions concerning research of Dominique Belpomme and his co-workers as worthy to respond to and… to attempt to debunk my opinions. This “rescue mission” was a failed attempt, as presented below…

However, in one word, they all, the 32 scientists and activists, have ‘nobilitated’ my blog post as a consideration-worthy source of scientific opinions.

Yes, I think these blogs are the worthy source of science opinions.

Yes, I think they, the 32 co-authors, have confirmed it.

Yes, I think it’s cool.

* For those curious what is the reputation of the MDPI, publisher of the journal that published Belpomme et al. consensus report, you may read this interesting blog post by Paolo Crosetto. While the journal has high Impact Factor, there is something curious about the publisher. See e.g. how the lag between submission to acceptance at top MDPI journals have changed between 2016 and 2020 (https://paolocrosetto.files.wordpress.com/2021/04/lag_ridge_new_colors.png?w=2048)

However, the first things first…

In order to understand this, somehow outlandishly called, “Scientific Consensus International Report”, by Belpomme et al., it is necessary to read first my blog post that triggered the 32 scientists to write and publish a peer-reviewed response. In my blog post I have criticized extensively the poor quality of the research and the insufficient scientific details provided in the research articles published by Belpomme and co-workers.

My blog in question, to which Belpomme + 31 scientists and activists responded, is available here:

EHS or not EHS: What about are studies by Belpomme and his team?

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Furthermore, my evaluation of the low quality of the research studies published by Belpomme and co-workers, that I first wrote in my above mentioned blog post, I have reiterated and published as part of my peer-reviewed open access article:

Review of the scientific evidence on the individual sensitivity to electromagnetic fields (EHS)

My brief responses to “Consensus” article

1/ Page 2 of 19. The question posed by me in my blog remains unanswered by this “consensus” article. Namely, What about are studies by Belpomme and his team?

In the introduction section of the “consensus” article Belpomme et al. wrote:

“…Because the aim of that clinical study was to identify and characterize EHS as a distinct pathological disorder and not to prove that EMF can cause EHS‐associated symptoms or EHS itself, we here respond to any scientist who may question the critical role of using molecular biomarkers and imaging techniques to objectively identify and characterize environmental diseases such as EHS and multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS)…”

The question remains, were “clinical studies” of Belpomme’s team studying EHS or just people saying they have EHS? Because there is a big difference.

People coming to Belpomme’s research team are those that are convinced that exposures to EMF have caused their health problem and that is why they claim to have EHS. But NOBODY knows whether indeed their health ailment was caused by EMF or by another agent. This is what I wrote about the volunteers examined by Belpomme and his team:

“…Selection of the study subjects relies solely on the opinion presented by the self-diagnosed EHS person. The scientists do not know whether the self-diagnoses are correct or not. The scientists do not know the possible “contamination”, of the EHS volunteers group, by the incorrectly self-diagnosed EHS persons…”

…and I wrapped my blog with this sentence:

“…THERE IS NO EVIDENCE, IN STUDIES PUBLISHED BY THE FRENCH TEAM OF DOMINIQUE BELPOMME THAT THE EXAMINED PATIENTS HAD THEIR SYMPTOMS CAUSED BY EXPOSURES TO EMF…”

No matter what clinical study Belpomme and team perform, when they claim to study EHS, they need some evidence of it being related in some way to EMF. It is not enough for them to use volunteers with self-diagnosis of EHS and claim that they study only EHS and the volunteers group is not contaminated by non-EHS volunteers, as Belpomme wrote to me:

“…The sample we have studied deals with real EHS people and not with non-EHS people…”

Who are the real EHS people Belpomme refers to?

2/ Pages 3, 4 & 5 of 19. The authors spent a lot of time reminding what clinical research is and what public health research is – stuff that is not needed in a scientific article written for experts, not activists. This long part is redundant and it should have been noticed by editors and by peer-reviewers.

3/ Page 5 of 19. The authors misrepresent the meaning of the new, WHO approved, definition of the EHS. They wrote (emphasis added DL):

“…Following the WHO‐sponsored scientific consensus meeting in 2004 in Prague, this morbid condition was called “idiopathic environmental intolerance” (IEI) attributed to electromagnetic fields (IEI‐EMF) [53], which suggests environmental intolerance possibly caused by EMF‐related environmental exposure…”

The bold part of the text is incorrect and here is direct quote from the document from the WHO Prague meeting on EHS:

“…The term Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance (electromagnetic field attributed symptoms), or IEI-EMF, is proposed to replace terms that imply an established causal relationship between symptoms and electromagnetic fields (e.g. electromagnetic hypersensitivity, electrosensitivity and hypersensitivity to electricity). Should a causal relationship to EMF or any other explanation be established in the future, the name of this condition may be changed according to this new knowledge. The specification “EMF attributed symptoms” is motivated by the need to distinguish the group of individuals who attribute their symptoms to EMF from individuals who attribute their ill health to other environmental agents, e.g. odorous chemicals…”

Thus, IEI-EMF means idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to EMF. The WHO definition specifically says that it is not known if it is causally associated with EMF, as Belpomme et al. wrongly wrote “which suggests environmental intolerance possibly caused by EMF‐related environmental exposure”.

Definition is definition, no matter what Belpomme et al. think of it…

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4/ Pages 5 & 6 of 19. There is started to be presented ‘The Case of Electrohypersensitivity’. The authors write, again and again, what Belpomme and team claim they have shown/proven in their in their original studies. It is as if repeating the same false claims, again and again, makes them less false.

“…The French team showed for the first time that EHS is associated with MCS in about 30% of cases and that overall EHS and MCS are associated with a similar clinical picture and biological signature…”

No, the French team did not show it – for explanation see my blog and my EHS review

“…on the basis of physical examination of the patients, this team showed that not all symptoms are subjective, since many cases’ cutaneous lesions, and possibly neurological physical abnormalities, could be objectively detected making EHS a true neurological, pathological disorder…”

No, the French team did not show it – for explanation see my blog and my EHS review

“…The French team also showed that the biomarkers detected in the peripheral blood and urine of EHS patients reflect low‐grade inflammation and oxidative/nitrosative stress…”

No, the French team did not show it – for explanation see my blog and my EHS review

“…Moreover, using different imaging techniques, including ultrasonic cerebral tomosphygmography (UCTS) […] it was shown that EHS is associated with brain neurovascular dysfunction, even with potentially neuronal lesions, primarily involving the temporal lobes—most particularly the limbic system as well as other parts of the brain…”

No, the French team did not show it – for explanation see my blog and my EHS review

“…Clearly these data […] show the path to follow if we want to learn more about EHS and MCS, understand their pathophysiological molecular signature, and—most of all—if we want to determine efficient treatment and prevention methods based on rigorous scientific data.

Not valid claim. Indeed, it would be so if the data would be of good scientific quality and not just wishful thinking and believes of the Belpomme and his team. As of now, Belpomme’s team did not provide any reliable molecular markers of EHS (or, without disrespect, whatever ailments they are studying).

5/ Page 6 of 19. About scientifically unfounded claims…

The authors of the “consensus” article wrote (emphasis added):

“…From a peer review scientific perspective, the criticisms made recently in a blog [2]—that the French team’s scientific publications were associated with inclusion problems and so studied non‐EHS patients instead of EHS patients and should have used so‐called “psychological” provocation tests instead of cohort analysis to prove EHS is caused by EMF exposure—are not justified.…”

As stated above, Belpomme and his team do not know how many of their volunteers were indeed affected by EMF exposures that led to EHS. They do not know how contaminated their volunteers group is by non-EHS cases.

The emphasis-added statement is completely FALSE. I did never suggested that Belpomme’s work is of poor quality because he did not use psychological provocation tests. The work is of poor quality for many other reasons, specified in my blog and in my EHS review.

What I suggested, is that the future EHS studies should be combination of psychological provocations and biochemical/physiological examinations.

6/ Pages 6, 7, 8, 9 10, 11 & 12 of 19. The following are three sub-chapters dealing with what I have been critical of in works of Belpomme and team. None of my original concerns were addressed adequately to make convincing rebuttal of my criticisms.

Sub-chapter 5.1 – Database selection of patients and on biomarker expression and EMF exposure

The authors, yet again claim that the selection of EHS cases was done using a series of 6 criteria but they did not provide any data evidence in their original study and in this “consensus” article. There are some especially puzzling criteria (emphasis added):

“…they were selected based on six major clinical criteria: (a) absence of known pathology accounting for the observed clinical symptoms; (b) reproducibility of symptom occurrence under the influence of suspected environmental sources, whatever they are; (c) regression or disappearance of symptoms in the case of presumed environmental source avoidance; (d) chronic evolution of symptoms occurrence; (e) symptomatic picture similar to that described in published peer‐reviewed scientific literature for EHS and MCS; (f) no preexisting associated pathology such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, cancer and/or neurodegenerative or psychiatric diseases that would have rendered the interpretation of clinical and biological data difficult…”

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I have written about it in my blog and in EHS review so I just quote here myself from my blog:

“…(DL – claim of reproducibility of the symptoms whenever the exposure happens is based solely on the opinion provided by the volunteer. No testing in the presence of EMF exposures were performed. As presented in the study it is subjective and unreliable claim)…”

Furthermore, the reproducibility criterion (b) would be quite a discovery if it was supported by data evidence, but it was not and it remains as just an unsupported claim.

Sub-chapter 5.2 – Biomarker expression and EMF exposure

I have written critically in detail about the “biomarkers” in blog and EHS review. None of my concerns were answered in this “consensus” article. My criticisms of biomarker data stands as before.

Sub-chapter 5.3 – “Psychological” provocation tests

This chapter begins with absolutely FALSE statement that, to defend poor science of Belpomme and team, purposefully misrepresents what I wrote in my blog:

“…Limiting the study of EHS to the use of “psychological” provocation tests and to biochemical tests looking for “physiological” markers is a very restrictive and limited research objective [2], as it does not include clinical research, epidemiology, toxicology, and biology studies, and other domains of scientific investigations, and it fails the different WHO recommendations for causality assessment…”

The research needs to begin somewhere. First is necessary to find, if possible, markers of EHS. With the markers established, research on EHS could proceed using all of the mentioned scientific approaches. Implying, by the “consensus” authors that I would think otherwise is PATENTLY FALSE.

Another misleading opinion of the “consensus authors” is here:

“…the term “psychological” is not a good label because sham versus EMF exposure tests should not explore the psychological behavior of EHS patients […] Consequently, as mentioned above, when based on non‐objective assessment, these tests generally cannot provide scientifically credible data for the role of EMF exposure in inducing EMF‐related effects […] This may explain why many studies using provocation tests in EHS patients have reported negative findings (i.e., on the basis of subjective endpoints, patients fail to distinguish sham from EMF exposure)…”

In my blog and in my EHS review I have provided explanation why all to-date published EHS studies, using self-diagnosed (self-attributed) EHS persons, are useless – because the scientists DO NOT KNOW how many real EHS persons are in the volunteer group participating in the study. When all volunteers are analyzed as a group, the misdiagnosed EHS contaminate data that after statistical analysis shows NOTHING HAPPENS. This contamination problem applies to all provocation studies and to all Belpomme and team studies.

7/ Page 13 of 19. Author contributions

The writing of the original draft of the article has been done solely by Dominique Belpomme, and it clearly shows in the text of this “consensus” article that it is not really consensus opinion but that it is response of the first author of the “consensus” article to criticisms of his team’s work in my blog post. The original idea seems to be to respond to my criticisms.

Anyone, who would bother to carefully read my critical opinions on missing data and poor data in original articles by Belpomme and his team, will see that this response to my criticisms is a failure and that the “consensus” article is not really consensus article but a blog post published in peer review journal in response to private blog post…

It is NOT what the consensus opinion should be.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place – Dariusz Leszczynski