Dr David O. Carpenter is one of North America's leading activists who claim that EMF causes harmful health effects ranging from dizziness and headaches (electromagnetic hypersensitivity or EHS) to cancer. He has intervened in numerous flare-ups and helped to fan public concerns on issues ranging from WiFi in schools to the installation of smart meters. He is one of the authors of the alarmist Bio-Initiative Report, which has been widely criticized by mainstream scientists. One of his most recent interventions was to oppose the installation of smart meters in the Province of Quebec. He presented a so called "Expert Report" to the Quebec Energy Board (Régie de l'Energie de Québec) which claimed that smart meters pose a threat to public health. The Quebec Energy Board has now ruled that smart meters pose no risk to health, and have given the green light to Hydro Quebec for the installation of more than 3 million devices in homes and businesses.

Carpenter's "Expert Report" is essentially a rehash of many of the same discredited claims presented in the Bio-Initiative Report. Carpenter selects only marginal studies that support his alarmist views, while ignoring the overwhelming balance of evidence and the scientific consensus that there is no evidence that EMF causes harm to health.

During the hearing, Hydro Quebec raised serious questions about the credentials of Dr. Carpenter and the claims he presented. These points were included in the complete version of the Energy Board report (P 29). Below is a translation from French of these points raised by Hydro Quebec.

  • On the website of the University of Albany, he is listed as holding a doctorate, but while testifying he confirmed that he held an MD and not a Ph D.
  • He is not accredited to practice medicine
  • He uses the term "physician" which implies that he is authorized to practice medicine, which is incorrect.
  • He admits that he himself had never conducted or directed research on RF, the only articles in which he participated on the subject are of the nature of opinions, all of which are against RF.
  • The Bio-Initiative Report, the most important project on RF in which he has participated, has been widely criticized, as he admitted himself, and is not supported by any recognized scientific group.
  • His methodology and neutrality have been criticized by a court.
  • He has never testified as an expert witness in a case involving RF and no court has ever considered him to be an expert in this area.
  • He has no knowledge of the technical characteristics of the meters that the Distributor (Hydro Quebec) wants to install.
  • The distributor (Hydro Quebec) concludes that the testimony of Dr. Carpenter, who acted as a fact witness at the request of S.E./AQLPA* to provide an objective and/or complete review of the scientific literature on the possible risks of RF on human health, should be completely disregarded.
  • For the distributor (Hydro Quebec), the cross examination of Dr. Carpenter has demonstrated that he did not do an objective and/or complete review of the literature. More precisely Dr Carpenter did not consider many serious studies that are contrary to his position.
  • The distributor (Hydro Quebec) states that Dr Carpenter has tried to justify his own opinion on smart meters that the RF they emit may possibly provoke non-thermal effects which increase the risk of cancer.
*S.E./AQLPA is a Quebec based activist group

In its decision, the Quebec Energy Board appears to agree with these criticisms of Dr. Carpenter. Among its conclusions is the following:
"In the light of current scientific knowledge concerning RF and health, and considering the extremely low exposures from RF from the new generation of smart meters from Hydro Quebec, the Ministry of Health and Social Services, in collaboration with the directors of public health and the Agencies of public health and social services, would like to inform the public that the RF emitted by these devices do not present a health risk".

* New Article from website The Last Word on Nothing: Dirty, dirty electricity
Dr. Samuel Milham and "Dirty Electricity"

Dr. Samuel Milham is a well known alarmist. He has established a web site and written a book to promote the "dangers" of so called "dirty electricity". He is an MD with an MPH degree (Master of Public Health). He worked for the public health department of the state of Washington for more than 20 years.

His supporters tout the fact that Milham has received the Ramazinni prize for his work purporting to show an increased risk of cancer from exposures to electromagnetic fields (EMFs). The Ramazinni Institute is notorious as the source of discredited claims that the artificial sweetener aspartame is a dangerous carcinogen. These studies have been widely criticized for serious flaws in methodology in the scientific community, and are not accepted. Its in house publication, the European Journal of Oncology, has one of the lowest rankings of any journal. See our critique of a deeply flawed study on EMF and heart rate that was published in this journal.

Late in his career Milham became an activist claiming that EMF causes adverse health effects. He has done a number of "studies" that purport to show that exposure to 60 Hz fields and the "dirty electricity" carried on electrical wiring cause a variety of health effects ranging from EHS symptoms to cancer. None of his "studies" are accepted by the mainstream scientific community. 

So called "dirty electricity" has been a recurrent theme with other EMF alarmists such as Dr. Magda Havas. Havas has conducted a number of flawed studies which purport to show that dirty electricity causes the non-specific symptoms of electrohypersensitivity (EHS). We have pointed out the serious flaws in some of her "studies", one of which was published in the Ramazinni journal.

Dr. Milham goes much further in alleging that "dirty electricity" is associated with an elevated risk of cancer. He has heavily promoted one particular "study" that he conducted at the La Quinta Middle School (LQMS) in California. This study is one of the showcase pieces in his book "Dirty Electricity" and on his web site. This study purports to find a strong correlation between cancer risk and exposure to so called "dirty electricity" in the electrical wiring of the school. Among the 137 teachers in the school, Milham alleges that a total of 18 cancer cases were diagnosed over the study period. This was 2.78 times more cancer cases than "expected". The study purports to show that those teachers who were diagnosed with cancer had been working in classrooms with abnormally high levels of "dirty electricity". The conclusion is that "dirty electricity" caused these cancers.

What Milham and his supporters fail to mention, is that there were major flaws in his study. Dr. John Morgan the head of the California Cancer Registry (CCR) investigated the sensational claims in Milham's study (Note: a different Lloyd Morgan is co-author of Milham's "study"). The serious flaws he uncovered indicate a total lack of scientific rigor, and may cross the line of scientific misconduct. Dr. Morgan's criticism and exposure of these flaws were published in a letter to the editor in the April 2009 issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. This is the same journal that had published Milham's paper. The following quotes are taken from Morgan's letter and are self explanatory. Despite these devastating flaws, Milham continues to shamelessly promote his "study". This is typical behavior for alarmists who promote poorly conducted studies that have been discredited.

Note we are prevented from reproducing this letter in its entirety due to copyright restrictions of the journal.

"Contrary to the assertion made by Milham [2008], the CCR did not verify the purported cancer cases among teachers in LQMS claimed by the authors and identified significant inaccuracies in the data that are evident in the published findings

"Inaccuracies in the author's findings when compared to CCR data and to DSUSD (Desert Sands Unified School District) employment records include unconfirmed cancer diagnoses, invalid date that cancer was diagnosed, misnamed cancer type, and inclusion of cancer for which the date of diagnosis precedes the date employment began in LQMS

'These systematic errors each contribute to an underestimate of the expected number of new cancer cases among LQMS teachers. Together with the over count of new cancers, this collection of biases produce the exaggerated estimates of the ratios of observed to expected new cancer cases presented by the authors [2008]".
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