Israel: Carpenter et al. request to retract Iris Atzmon et al paper in Pathophysiology

vrijdag, 04 november 2016 - Categorie: Berichten Internationaal

Bron: e-mail van Dafna Tachover
4 nov. 2016

Carpenter, Firstenberg and Tachover request to retract Iris Atzmon et al paper in Pathophysiology

I would like to update you on a matter of significance in our efforts to expose the wireless lie and bad science which is being used to harm people.

On August 4, 2012, after much deliberation and thought, Professor David Carpenter, Arthur Firstenberg and attorney Dafna Tachover sent a letter to the editor of the journal Pathophysiology requesting the retraction of a published paper: Atzmon et al., “Cancer risks in the Druze Isifya Village: Reasons and RF/MW antennas,” Pathophysiology 19: 21-28 (2012). The paper is attached to this email.

The paper is an epidemiological study that concluded there was no relation of cell towers to cancer incidence in the village of Isifya, Israel. Some of you may recall the Isifya story as featured in the “Full Signal” movie.

Many of you know the lead author of the paper, Iris Atzmon, who is an activist on the wireless issue in Israel.

We were alerted to the fact that the telecommunications industry has been using this paper in court cases as evidence that cell towers are harmless and do not cause cancer, including in a current case in Israel, and therefore, has been causing damage and harm to people and children.

Careful review of the paper left us with no doubt that this paper contains statistical errors that are so numerous and fundamental and it must be removed from the body of peer-reviewed literature about the subject. The worst problem with the paper is the lack of a control population. This error alone should be a sufficient reason to retract the paper. We decided to take action to either get it withdrawn by the authors or retracted by the journal.

The letter to pathophysiology which elaborates the mistakes in the paper is attached to this email.

Iris Atzmon was provided with extensive and detailed data about all the cancer cases in Isifya by the village's former deputy mayor, Suliman Abu-Rakan who worked tirelessly to expose the epidemic of cancer in his village. But then she did not use the data. Mr. Abu-Rakan, who passed away in June 2016, was seeking to address the misuse of his data and the damage to people that resulted and we feel relieved that he died knowing that an action has been taken to correct the ironic use of his hard work.

Before contacting the Journal, Mr. Firstenberg emailed Iris Atzmon asking for clarifications, not about the entire list of errors, but only about the most important one: the lack of a control population. Instead of responding professionally, Iris Atzmon responded by abusing Mr. Firsteberg and wrote ''go find another tree to hang on”. The correspondence is attached to the letter to Pathophysiology.

Before contacting the Journal we also contact Prof. Elihu Richter, who is a co-author on the paper and a Professor of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in the Hebrew University, with the hope that he will do the right thing and join the request to retract the paper. Knowing that for obvious reasons, journals are reluctant to get published paper retracted; having one of the authors joining the request would have made the process easier.

In his conversation with Ms. Tachover, Prof. Richter immediately admitted that indeed the paper is ''a bad paper'', said that ''putting his name on it was a mistake'' and added that ''he would like to withdraw his name from it''. Regretfully, 24 hours later, he changed his mind.

After we submitted the letter to the Journal, Prof. Richter informed us that he emailed his co-authors to ask for their response, and asked that we wait until after September 9th for his response. We respected his response, however, and despite a reminder, no response was received so far.

Considering Iris Atzmon and Prof. Elihu Richter are advocates against wireless harms, we are disappointed by their actions and lack of actions to date.

We hope that either the authors or the Journal will do the right thing and get the paper withdrawn or retracted so no further harm to people will be caused by this paper. For obvious reasons journals are reluctant to retract published papers and so it is hard to say if we will be successful.

We hope you will support us in our efforts to have this paper removed from the body of science on this topic.

A personal note from Dafna:

For the past 3 months since we submitted the letter to the Journal, we have kept this matter between us, the authors and the editor of the journal, hoping for a quick, quiet and respectful resolution of the matter so this paper will not continue and be used to harm people.

However, Iris Atzmon, has not been so respectful. In fact, she has been using the time to write defamatory emails about Ms. Tachover to various third parties. Her behavior is unacceptable and libelous. I regret Iris chose this line of action.

Out of respect to you all and to this important action especially considering this paper is being used to harm people, I will continue and refrain from responding to her statements. I will only say that Iris's statements in her emails have the same credibility as the science of her paper.


Dafna Tachover

The letter to the editor of the journal Pathophysiology

August 4, 2016

J. Steven Alexander, Editor-in-Chief

Regarding: Atzmon et al., “Cancer risks in the Druze Isifya Village: Reasons and RF/MW antennas,” Pathophysiology 19: 21-28 (2012) should be retracted.

Dear Dr. Alexander,

The undersigned are sorry to have to bring this serious matter to your attention. The publication listed above has many errors and for the reasons outlined below and in Appendix A (page 5), we request that it be retracted by Pathophysiology.

The errors are so fundamental that this should be one of the rare cases in which we think that a journal should intervene and retract a paper.

The most fundamental error in this paper, which purports to be a case-control study of a population exposed to radiation from cell towers, is that there were no controls. This error alone should be a sufficient reason to retract the paper.

All the investigators did was knock on 307 doors in the vicinity of the cell towers and record who had cancer and who did not have cancer. Obviously, if you start with persons who are exposed to the same radiation levels, you will end up with persons who are exposed to the same radiation levels. The authors concluded that there was no significant difference in exposure
levels between persons with cancer and persons without cancer who lived next door to one another. That conclusion is nothing but a tautology.

We have found 10 fundamental errors in this paper:

1. Neither “cases” nor “controls” were obtained from a representative sample of village residents. See map of “cases” (red dots) and “controls” (black dots) in figure 1 of the paper.
“Cases” and “controls” all lived next to one another near the towers (stars).

2. Tables 2, 3, 4 and 5 give different numbers of “controls” for each type of cancer. The authors simply subtracted the number of people with that type of cancer from 307. This means that the “controls” for each type of cancer consisted of persons with other types of cancer as well as persons without cancer.

3. The authors failed to calculate the prevalence of cancer, i.e. the number of cases of cancer per thousand population. This should have been done for each distance band, and should have been calculated by dividing the number of cases of cancer in that distance band by the total population in that distance band.

4. Instead of prevalence, the authors calculated meaningless numbers. Figure 2 contains two graphs. In the upper graph, the authors divided the number of cases of cancer they interviewed in each distance band by the total number of people they interviewed in that distance band. It is a meaningless number. From the size of the bars and the number of cases marked above each bar, we calculate that 82 people were interviewed in the first distance band, 43 in the
second, 36 in the third, 50 in the fourth, 50 in the fifth, 20 in the sixth, 12 in the seventh, and 14 in the eighth. As a verification that that is what the authors did, these numbers add up to 307, the exact size of the survey population.

5. In the lower graph, the authors divided the number of cases of cancer in each distance band by the total population in the study area (about 1300). This is also a meaningless calculation.

6. The bars in the lower graph not only represent meaningless numbers but are also drawn inaccurately. We recalculated the size of the bars. They should be (per thousand population) 9.2 (not 8.2), 6.9 (not 11.8), 6.1, 0.8 (not 0.5), 0.8 (not 0.5), 2.3 (not 2.1), 1.5 (not 1.9), and 0.8.

7. Different numbers of cancer cases are given in different parts of the paper. In Table 2 and in Appendix B, it says there were 47 cases of cancer. But if you add up all the cases of the separate types of cancer in Table 2, there are only 46 cases. And if you add up all the cases of cancer in the different distance bands in figure 2, there are only 37 cases. All of the cancer cases should be accounted for in figure 2, because it includes distances up to 400 meters and no cancer cases are further than 400 meters from a tower in the map of figure 1.

8. The village of Isifya is located on Mount Carmel and the terrain is hilly. Yet the authors state in section 5 (“Study limitations”) that they did not account for topographic factors in calculating exposure levels. They simply used the inverse square of the distance to the closest transmitter, E = 1/D2 (section 2.2, “Exposure assessment”). If this formula is applied to locations
that vary in elevation with respect to a tower, you will get meaningless numbers.

9. The authors do not even explain how they chose their study population.
10. The authors had in their possession a significant body of data that they ignored. We attach the detailed data to this letter in Appendix B (pages 6-7). . It shows 224 cases of cancer in Isifya in the vicinity of the cell towers. The authors do not explain why they included only 47 (or 37?) cases in their survey or how they chose those 47 (37?).

In addition to all of the above, the paper contains a number of bizarre findings and odd statements that are poorly supported or unsupported by the authors’ results. We list and summarize these in Appendix A.

As these long lists of errors indicate, this paper contains no valid epidemiological data.
It therefore should be retracted by the journal.

In April 2016, Mr. Arthur Firstenberg contacted the lead author, Iris Atzmon, and
received no meaningful response from her. The correspondence is attached and marked as Appendix C (pages 8-11).

Two days ago, attorney Dafna Tachover contacted co-author Prof. Elihu Richter by phone, asking him to withdraw the paper. Prof. Richter's initial response was, “I know there were no controls… It is not a good paper… I am willing to retract it, I am willing to remove my name from it. It was a mistake.” He then changed his mind about withdrawing the paper, saying in an email that Ms. Atzmon did “the best she could.” Today he sent us all an email saying “There will be No retraction.” This correspondence is attached and marked as Appendix D (pages 12-15).

There are serious potential legal concerns associated with this publication. This paper continues to be used by telecommunications companies and governments as evidence that cell towers do not cause cancer. As this includes cases currently under litigation, there is some urgency in our request that this paper be officially repudiated.

The recent demonstration by the US National Toxicology Program that even rats develop brain and Schwann cell cancers upon exposure to radiofrequency radiation raises concerns about liability for both author and publisher who present fallacious data that is used to deny real threats to the public’s health.

We look forward for your response,

David O. Carpenter, M.D
Arthur Firstenberg
Dafna Tachover

Respectfully Submitted

David O. Carpenter, M.D.
Director, Institute for Health and the Environment
University at Albany

Information about the signatories:

David Carpenter is a public health physician who serves as director of the Institute for Health
and the Environment, a Collaborating Center of the World Health Organization, as well as a
professor of environmental health sciences at the University at Albany's School of Public Health.
He previously served as Director of the Wadsworth Center of the New York State Department of Health, and as Dean of the University at Albany School of Public Health. Carpenter, who
received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, has more than 370 peer-reviewed
publications, 6 books and 50 reviews and book chapters to his credit. He is the Co-Editor of the
Bioinitiative Report ( and the Editor-in-Chief of Environmental Pollution
and Reviews on Environmental Health. He has testified on the dangers of electromagnetic
radiation before the President’s Cancer Panel.

Arthur Firstenberg is a researcher, consultant, and lecturer on the health and environmental
effects of electromagnetic radiation. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Cornell University with
a B.A. in mathematics, and attended the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine
from 1978 to 1982. Injury by X-ray overdose cut short his medical career. He is founder and
president of the Cellular Phone Task Force, the oldest and largest organization in North America
dedicated to reducing electromagnetic pollution. He is the author of ''Microwaving Our Planet:
The Environmental Impact of the Wireless Revolution'' and of the forthcoming book, ''The
Invisible Rainbow: A History of Electricity and Life''.

Dafna Tachover is an attorney in New-York and Israel and the founder of ''We Are The
Evidence'', an advocacy organization for the protection of the rights of people who have been
injured by wireless technology radiation. She has a technical background from her army service
in the Israeli Defense Forces where she served as a Communication and Computers Officer and
the commander of the computer center of the IDF's Operations Center and of its Headquarters.
Since she developed Electromagnetic Sensitivity (''ES'') in 2009, she has been dedicating her
work to the topic including lecturing, PR, lobbying and litigating. She has been consulting in
various lawsuits, initiated and led a Supreme Court case in Israel to ban the use of Wi-Fi in
schools and represented 94 international organizations in an amicus brief in a US case.

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