Masao Taki, a Japanese expert, is the fourth author of the Mobi-kids study [that analyzes the impact of wireless phones on the risk of brain tumors for young people] who has not declared his potential conflicts of interest with the mobile phone industry or his membership, until 2008, in the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP)
After the French expert Joe Wiart who, like four other employees, worked on the strategic core of the study for the operator Orange; after the Canadian scientist Daniel Krewski who failed to report more than 1.5 million euros in funding from the mobile phone industry; and after the Korean engineer Ae-Kyoung Lee who works directly with the organization « Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) » which is participating in the hundreds of millions of dollars of royalties generated by companies such as the smartphone manufacturer Samsung, this new breach of scientific ethics by the Japanese expert Masao Taki clearly raises the question of the transparency of the information transmitted by certain authors of the Mobi-kids study.
As a reminder: when the Mobi-kids article was published at the end of December 2021 in Environment International, the authors had “forgotten” to include the section on conflicts of interest. We understand better why!
Moreover, it is our intervention with Ms. Elisabeth Cardis, coordinator of the study, which allowed rectification of this serious lack of transparency (read our press release on the Phonegate Alert website).
Indeed, it appears quite obvious that Mr. Masao Taki should also be listed in the conflicts of interest section. This was in fact made no secret in a previous publication devoted to the Mobi-kids study, in the epidemiology journal Frontiers in Public Health dated September 2014 and signed by the same authors. It stated:
“Masao Taki’s department received a grant to support numerical modeling under a university-industry partnership.”
This conflict of interest simply disappeared in the article published at the end of 2021. We have, however, found the explanation, and it would still be the industrialist Orange (formerly France Télécom) that we find at the maneuver through its subsidiary Whist Lab (joint laboratory of the Institut Mines-Télécom and Orange).
In fact, it would seem that it is this “university-industry partnership” that would have financed the work of Prof. Masao Taki, as shown by the “complete” conflict of interest declaration in this article dedicated to the Mobi-kids study published in 2013:
« Prof. Masao Taki’s department received a grant to support numerical modeling work under a university-industry partnership. Whist Lab is funded by France Telecom. None of this funding was used to support the research described in this paper. »
In addition, Mr. Masao Taki was a member (1996-2008) of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), a pseudo-independent body that established guidelines for protection against non-ionizing radiation. He was also Chairman of the ICNIRP SCIII Commission from 2004 to 2008.
Moreover, the ICNIRP recommendations, which were incorporated into numerous regulations including the European Directive 1999/54/EU, is at the origin of the Phonegate scandal. Indeed, the revelations of the NGO Phonegate Alert showed that we had all been greatly overexposed to the thermal effects of the waves of our cell phones, and that the health of millions of users was thoughtlessly endangered as much by the manufacturers as by national regulators and certain pro-industry experts.
The more than controversial nature of the work of ICNIRP and the multiple alerts on conflicts of interest within it with the mobile phone industry undoubtedly justify the need to include mention in the potential conflicts of interest.
This is the case, for example, with this article published in January 2022 in the same journal Environment International. Thus, Ms. Maria Feychting, member of the ICNIRP commission (2008-2020) has declared her membership in this organization in the section of conflicts of interest.
For the European Deputy Michèle Rivasi, at the origin in 2020 of a report denouncing the ties of interest existing between the telecom industry and ICNIRP:
« We showed in 2020 how the majority of ICNIRP members have conducted research partially funded by industry and closely cooperate with the telecom lobby. These industry-influenced experts serve to minimize the risks. For truly independent scientific advice, we cannot and should not rely on ICNIRP. It seems today that history is repeating itself with Mobi-kids, which also received funding from the European Union. How is it that the co-authors of the conclusions of Mobi-kids were able to indicate their ties of interest in the past, and then pass them over in silence now? Why did the European Commission, which is one of the funders of this research, not verify the independence of the experts selected for the project or the existence of these ties of interest »
Clarification by Dr. Marc Arazi, who launched the Phonegate Alert and describes in his book the strategies of the manufacturers to promote their profits at the expense of global public health:
“Phonegate Alert has officially written to Mr. Adrian Covaci, co-editor-in-chief of Environment International, asking him to place a warning in the Mobi-kids article as soon as possible. Readers should be aware of the multiple and serious breaches of scientific ethics in this article. The reputation of the journal and its editorial responsibility are at stake. On the authors’ side, our letters remain unanswered. While awaiting a return, our investigations will therefore continue.”
To view our entire investigative work on the Mobi-kids study: