CMAJ: Wi-Fi Safety Panel Chair Hid Conflict of Interest

The Canadian Medical Association Journal is reporting that the chair of a special committee charged with assessing the safety of wi-fi did not disclose that he’d taken payments from Industry Canada specifically to help them dismiss public concerns about wi-fi safety:

The Royal Society of Canada will reconsider its decision to appoint a University of Ottawa professor to chair a panel that will assess the safety of radiowave-emitting devices such as cellular phones, following a CMAJ investigation that reveals a potential conflict-of-interest.

The society’s decision comes after CMAJ informed it that Daniel Krewski, who is a professor in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ontario and Director of the R. Samuel McLaughlin Centre, failed to disclose to the society that he had a $126 000 contract in 2008–2009 from Industry Canada. According to the Merx public tender document, Krewski’s contract was to “assist in addressing what the Department believes is opposition often based on misperception and misinformation” with respect to cellphone antennas.

The potential conflicts of interests of other panelist’s are being hidden.

Flynn, at the royal society, acknowledges that some of Clegg’s concerns are valid.  “We realized some of these members had previously had close connections to the [radiofrequency] industry,” he says. “I know it may be hard to believe, but it was very difficult to find people with sufficient expertise without apparent or perceived connections to the [radiofrequency] industry.”

Clegg strongly disputes the assertion that independent, impartial experts are unavailable and points to the International Agency for Research on Cancer panel as evidence.