Bad Science Watch Endorses Royal Society of Canada’s Expert Panel Review of Safety Code 6

Bad Science Watch has issued a supportive press release in response to a new report from a Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel reviewing Safety Code 6:

Bad Science Watch Endorses Royal Society of Canada’s Expert Panel Review of Safety Code 6

Consumer protection and science advocacy group pleased the report has rejected claims of anti-wireless campaigners.

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – April 1, 2014) – Bad Science Watch has fully endorsed the latest report of the Royal Society of Canada’s Expert Panel reviewing Safety Code 6. The science advocacy group has been fighting the misinformation and fear mongering of anti-wireless campaigners since 2012, and stood against them at the Expert Panel’s public consultation last year.

Anti-wireless organizations have called for severe tightening of the regulations that set electromagnetic energy exposure limits, known as Safety Code 6, and say that WiFi, smart meters, and cell phones cause health problems for people with “electromagnetic hypersensitivity”.

Bad Science Watch has reviewed the highest-level evidence regarding these claims and found them to be unsupported. Research shows that people claiming to suffer “electromagnetic hypersensitivity” cannot detect the presence of electromagnetic fields when a source is hidden from them, and that their symptoms have other causes.

Based on these findings, Bad Science Watch science adviser Dr. Rob Tarzwell, a specialist in both nuclear medicine and psychiatry, presented evidence to the Expert Panel that the claims of the anti-wireless lobby are without merit and are harming the public.

“Many distressed people have been misled by these groups into believing their health problems are caused by electromagnetic fields,” said Dr. Tarzwell. “This worsens their suffering as it stops them from getting the care they deserve.”

Further information about Bad Science Watch’s work can be found at www.badsciencewatch.ca/projects/ongoing-efforts-against-emf-pseudoscience/
Bad Science Watch is an independent consumer protection organization dedicated to improving the lives of Canadians by advocating for good science in public policy.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jamie Williams

Executive Director

1-888-742-3299 ext. 102

jwilliams@badsciencewatch.ca

www.badsciencewatch.ca

Further information:
Bad Science Watch’s Ongoing Efforts Against EMF Pseudoscience
Bad Science Watch’s Investigation of Anti-WiFi Activism in Canada
Review of Safety Code 6: Potential Health Risks of Radiofrequency Fields from Wireless Telecommunications Devices

Royal Society of Canada Due to Release Report on Safety Code 6

Vancouver, B.C. – Monday March 31, 2014 – In anticipation of the Royal Society of Canada’s announcement of the findings of their Expert Panel on Safety Code 6, Bad Science Watch is making available its science adviser Dr. Rob Tarzwell for interviews on any potential changes to the regulations governing cell phone radiation.

Bad Science Watch has spoken out in the past on the misinformation surrounding the use of non-ionizing radiation from wireless devices. Last year Dr. Tarzwell, a specialist in both nuclear medicine and psychiatry, presented evidence to the Royal Society’s Expert Panel that the condition called “electromagnetic hypersensitivity”, or EHS, does not exist and that current exposure limits do not expose the public to harm.

“We anticipate the Royal Society’s report will agree with our own findings,” says Michael Kruse, Board Chair of Bad Science Watch. “Wireless devices do not pose a significant risk to the public.”

Bad Science Watch will issue a response to the report after the RSC press conference on April 1st at 9:00 AM EST, and Dr. Rob Tarzwell will be available for comment throughout the day.

More information:
Our BC Human Rights Tribunal and RSC submission information
Our position paper on EHS

For Media Inquiries, Please Contact

Jamie Williams
Executive Director
1-888-742-3299 ext. 102
jwilliams@badsciencewatch.ca
www.badsciencewatch.ca

Health Canada Ignores Evidence of Harm From Chinese Medicines

Bad Science Watch has issued a new report condemning a draft monograph from the Natural Health Products Directorate that outlines licensing guidelines for ingredients used in Traditional Chinese Medicines

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – March 17, 2014) – In a report issued last week, Bad Science Watch strongly criticised Health Canada’s proposed licensing guidelines for ingredients of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The proposal, intended to assist drug companies in gaining approval for their products, does a poor job of protecting the public from the risks of unproven and sometimes dangerous plant products, and Bad Science Watch has recommended they be reconsidered.

In the highly critical report Bad Science Watch identified dozens of herbs in Health Canada’s proposal that that pose risks to human health, and drew attention to toxic ingredients, such as mercury-containing compounds, that have not been included in the prohibited list. The consumer protection group also notes that TCM products have a history of containing undeclared pharmaceutical drugs and misidentified ingredients.

“It is obvious that Health Canada is ignoring its responsibility to properly assess the risks of these ingredients,” says Dr. Brian Foster, an Adjunct Professor at the University of Ottawa, and one of the authors of the review. “All products have risk, and by relying upon dated references Health Canada is neglecting emerging evidence on the dangers associated with some of these TCMs. To ensure product safety, Health Canada should hold natural health products to the same high standards they apply to drugs.” Dr. Foster worked for the Therapeutic Products Directorate at Health Canada for 26 years, and has intimate knowledge of their policies.

The Natural Health Products Directorate, responsible for licensing TCM preparations, has streamlined licensing processes, with some products now gaining approval in just 10 days. Bad Science Watch has been critical of this effort and publishes regular reports to bring attention to Canada’s weakening consumer protection measures.

The full report can be found at http://www.badsciencewatch.ca/projects/nhpd-monograph-consultations/.

Bad Science Watch is an independent consumer protection organization dedicated to improving the lives of Canadians by advocating for good science in public policy.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Michael Kruse
Chair, Board of Directors
1-888-742-3299 ext. 101
mkruse@badsciencewatch.ca
www.badsciencewatch.ca

Bad Science Watch Criticizes “Vanessa’s Law” for Neglecting Natural Health Product Users

Bad Science Watch distributed a press release December 6, 2013, voicing our criticism of the shortcomings of the proposed Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act:

Bad Science Watch Criticizes Patient Safety Act for Neglecting Natural Health Product Users

Bowing to lobbyists the Harper Government has excluded Natural Health Products from newly tabled “Vanessa’s Law”, sacrificing consumer safety for political expediency

Toronto, ON Dec. 6, 2013 - Bad Science Watch has criticized the newly tabled Patient Safety Act, known as “Vanessa’s Law”, for explicitly excluding Natural Health Products from the regulations to appease lobbyists.

The consumer protection organization claims that the already insufficient regulation of NHPs will be weakened as a result, neglecting the safety of NHP users and practitioners and compromising informed healthcare choice.

“What is otherwise an excellent proposal is horribly undermined by this glaring omission,” said Jamie Williams, Executive Director of Bad Science Watch. “The exclusion of Natural Health Products from the definition of ‘therapeutic products’ means the government would be able to issue a recall for a bad batch of lip balm, but not for herbal remedies adulterated with pseudoephedrine or tainted with toxic heavy metals.”

Bad Science Watch believes Canadians deserve robust safety and enforcement regulations for all health care products, and will be fighting to have the Act’s definition of “therapeutic products” amended to include NHPs.

Bad Science Watch is an independent consumer protection organization dedicated to improving the lives of Canadians by advocating for good science in public policy. More information can be found at www.badsciencewatch.ca.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

 Jamie Williams

Executive Director

1-888-742-3299 ext. 102

jwilliams@badsciencewatch.ca

www.badsciencewatch.ca

Health Canada information, Q&A, and press release on the Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act:

Health Canada Acts on Concerns of Bad Science Watch, Nosodes get Warning

On Saturday September 21st, 2013, the following press release was distributed commenting on the change to the labelling standards for homeopathic nosodes by Health Canada:

Health Canada Acts on Concerns of Bad Science Watch, Nosodes get Warning

New guidelines require homeopathic nosode products to feature a warning message, cautioning consumers against their use as vaccine alternatives.

Toronto, ON September 21, 2013 - Bad Science Watch announced an important victory today in their campaign against misleading advertising of nosodes, also known as “homeopathic vaccines”. Health Canada has acted on the consumer protection organization’s criticism of new guidelines for nosode licensing, and will now require product packaging to feature the warning “This product is not intended to be an alternative to vaccination.”

Bad Science Watch participated in the stakeholder consultation on the draft guidelines, submitting a highly critical document arguing against the lack of distinction made between nosode products and vaccines, the ease of misinterpretation by the consumer, and the lack of acknowledgement of the harms posed by these products when used instead of vaccination. The document was produced as part of the organization’s successful Stop Nosodes campaign which brought awareness of the issue to medical professionals across the country and generated forceful debate in the national media.

Nosodes are homeopathic preparations made from diseased tissue, pus, blood, or excretions of a sick person or animal. Many homeopaths and naturopaths offer them as an alternative to vaccination, but there is no evidence they can protect against disease.

“This new warning message will help consumers make better informed health choices, and dissuade retailers and homeopathy practitioners from spreading the misconception that these products have been approved as vaccine alternatives.” said Michael Kruse, campaign director and Board Chair. “It’s a small step, but we are glad that the NHPD has recognized the problem of widespread promotion and use of nosodes as vaccine alternatives.”

Bad Science Watch plans to continue advocating for clearer labelling and stronger enforcement of marketing standards for homeopathic preparations and other natural health products.

Bad Science Watch is an independent consumer protection organization dedicated to improving the lives of Canadians by advocating for good science in public policy. Bad Science Watch has been running the Stop Nosodes campaign since April, 2013. More information can be found at www.badsciencewatch.ca and www.stopnosodes.org.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

 Jamie Williams

Executive Director

1-888-742-3299 ext. 102

jwilliams@badsciencewatch.ca

www.badsciencewatch.ca

The new Health Canada nosodes monograph can be found here.

Open Letter: CTV Toronto Reports on Wireless Debate Uncritically

The following letter was sent to the news director for CTV Toronto, following the poor reporting of a minor protest in Mississauga, Ontario by the Citizens for Safe Technology.  More on this story can be found in a blog post by Bad Science Watch’s Michael Kruse, blogging at the Huffington Post.

Ken Shaw, National Editor, News
CTV Toronto
P.O. Box 9, Station ‘O’
Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
M4A 2M9

Dear Mr. Shaw,

Bad Science Watch would like to express our deep disappointment and concern over the coverage offered by Ms. Pauline Chan on Tuesday Sept. 4th, 2013 on the CTV Toronto evening news, regarding the protest by members of Citizens for Safe Technology (C4ST) outside a Mississauga elementary school.

We found the coverage of the small protest against the use of wireless devices and the Bring Your Own Device program at the Peel District School Board was exaggerated (we have been informed by Peel Regional School Board that it consisted of no more than 5 people), was largely one-sided, did not report mainstream viewpoints, and misrepresented the veracity of the claims of Mr. Frank Clegg and C4ST.

We had been contacted earlier in the day of the broadcast by Elizabeth St. Philip, a producer with your national news desk, who was looking for expert sources to provide comment. Within the hour we had referred her to two academics from the University of Toronto who are experts in the effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation on humans. We also offered to provide our own comments for the reportage, as we recently authored a paper which reviewed the extensive scientific research into the health effects of WiFi and other EMF exposure. Our paper concluded that there was a lack of any support for the claims of bad health effects from WiFi made by groups such as C4ST.

Ms. Chan or her producer decided not to include any experts in the broadcast and instead reported only the erroneous claims and misinformation offered by Mr. Clegg (who is not an expert in any biological science) without question and without indication that they were fringe beliefs in contradiction to the consensus science. Further, we have been informed by a Peel Regional School Board public relations contact that the Board was not allowed to provide comment and instead quotes were extracted from content on their website. Health Canada and Peel Public Health were not directly contacted either, and instead empty, low impact quotes were reported, painting a picture of a public health system dodging probative questions from concerned citizens; a biased and misleading portrayal.

Most worrying were the “facts” offered at the end of the piece referencing the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, a fringe organisation that has no recognition as a medical authority and whose lack of credibility is routinely demonstrated by their casual disregard for facts and evidence in forming opinions. The claim that “30% of the population may be suffering from delayed effects of WiFi exposure” is entirely unsubstantiated and unsupported by rigorous scientific research. A simple Google search for published references would have revealed this, but Ms. Chan or her producers appear to have accepted this fact uncritically. The result was a report that spread a great deal of misinformation about a safe, proven technology that is helping thousands of schoolchildren every day, and stoked unjustified concern in the audience.

This report represents an utter paucity of respect for journalistic standards and integrity by the individuals involved. While it is common for smaller or less reputable news outlets to reprint press releases from self-interested parties wholesale, it is surprising to see a similar effort from staff at a station of CTV’s status and resources, purporting to offer important news about health.

As a news editor I am sure you hold to the highest of journalistic standards, and we hope that in the future this will be reflected in the work of your producers and other news staff. We would be happy to help with this by providing comment or experts for your reporters to talk to, on this topic or others.
Sincerely,

Michael Kruse
Chair, Board of Directors
Bad Science Watch

www.badsciencewatch.ca

Our position paper can be found here:

http://www.badsciencewatch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/BSW-Anti-WiFi-2012-Position-Paper-UPDATED-Jan-27-2013.pdf

National Immunization Awareness Week 2013

On April 19th 2013,  we distributed the following news release to contribute to National Immunization Awareness Week 2013, beginning April 20th, 2013.  We also highlight the high-profile supporters of our Stop Nosodes Campaign.

 

April 19, 2013

Pull Licenses of Nosodes, Health Canada Urged

Watchdog Supports National Immunization Awareness Week By Fighting Homeopathic “Vaccine Alternatives”

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – April 19, 2013) – Bad Science Watch is contributing to National Immunization Awareness Week 2013 by reminding Canadians that homeopathic “vaccine alternatives” do not work and will not protect them from disease. They say Health Canada’s approval of these products, known as ‘nosodes’, is weakening national immunization efforts, and they are calling on Health Canada to revoke the products’ licenses. The watchdog’s ‘Stop Nosodes’ campaign is supported by the BC Center for Disease Control, Alberta Health Services, the UBC School of Population and Public Health, and a number of prominent scientists.

Nosodes are homeopathic preparations made from diseased tissue, pus, blood, or excretions of a sick person or animal. The material is diluted over and over again in water or alcohol until there is often none left in the end solution. The end result is often sprayed on pills made of milk sugar and allowed to dry.

Health Canada currently licenses at least 82 nosode products that are used by homeopaths and naturopaths to prevent dangerous diseases like measles, whooping cough, polio, and tuberculosis. There is no good evidence that these preparations can prevent disease at all, yet Health Canada promises Canadians that these products have been determined to be “effective”.

Low vaccination rates have led to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases across Canada in the last few years; in the UK a massive ongoing outbreak of measles in an under-vaccinated region has led to 800 sick children. Bad Science Watch fears a repeat of this scenario in Canada if more people forgo vaccination, or choose ineffective nosodes instead of vaccines.

“By licensing nosodes Health Canada undermines its own policies and is working against its own efforts to promote vaccination,” said Michael Kruse, campaign director and co-founder of Bad Science Watch. “We must stop putting Canadian families at unnecessary risk and ban these products.”

The Stop Nosodes campaign website, www.stopnosodes.org, features an open letter to Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq that has been signed by over 170 scientists and healthcare professionals from Canada and abroad including Dr. Paul Offit, the co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Prof. Edzard Ernst, the world’s first Professor of Complementary Medicine, from the University of Exeter.

Bad Science Watch is an independent non-profit consumer protection organization that advocates for good science in public policy. More information can be found at www.badsciencewatch.ca and www.stopnosodes.org. National Immunization Awareness Week runs from April 20th to the 27th.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Bad Science Watch

Jamie Williams

Executive Director

1-888-742-3299 ext. 102

jwilliams@badsciencewatch.ca

www.badsciencewatch.ca

NDP Proposed Resolution on EHS Defies Science

It was brought to our attention by a supporter this week that the New Democratic Party (NDP) had offered a proposal up for consideration on the floor at the conference in Montreal this weekend that would call for possible changes to the emission standards of electro-magnetic radiation (EMR) and to acknowledge the existence of electro-hypersensitivity or EHS, as caused by EMR:

#70 – Electromagnetic Radiation Exposure

Submitted by the Disability Rights Committee

WHEREAS wireless communications and technologies are expanding exponentially, and extensive exposure to electromagnetic radiation is relatively new (generally less than 10 years); and

WHEREAS the long-term effects of long-term exposure to electromagnetic radiation on the biology and health of the human body and the environment has not been conclusively determined; and

WHEREAS electromagnetic hypersensitivity is on the increase worldwide;

BE IT RESOLVED that the following clause be added to section 1.13 of the policy book:

[New Democrats believe in:] “x”) requiring that Health Canada’s regulations on the safety and safe exposure limits of electromagnetic radiation ensure the biological integrity and health of humans and the environment and be based on research conducted by independent and unbiased (unaffiliated with industry) scientists.

In response, Bad Science Watch forwarded our position paper on EHS to every NDP MP with the following message:

Hello,

In advance of the conference in Montreal this weekend, and pursuant to resolution 70 put forward by the Disability Rights Committee, please see our independent analysis of the dubious diagnosis of electro-hypersensitivity. While we do not dispute its existence, there is no good evidence that the syndrome is actually caused by electro-magnetic radiation (EMR). Accordingly, the resolution below makes unsupportable assumptions about its existence and cause, and will further obscure the real cause for these symptoms that will result in a delay in receiving proper treatment.

In this era of a decreased reliance on evidence in the Harper government we cannot allow ideology to trump evidence. The evidence is quite clear when it comes to electro-hypersensitivity: it is not caused by EMR. Despite the conspiracy-mongering by some of the activists involved in the promotion of this connection, the weight of evidence does not support the idea. We ask you to consider all of the science involved in this decision, not just evidence that is cherry-picked to agree with anti-corporate ideology.

Bad Science Watch is an independent consumer protection organisation that promotes good science in public policy. We are comprised of concerned members of the public, we are funded by small donations made by individuals, and we have no funding from corporate interests. Please see our website for more details at www.badsciencewatch.ca

If you require more information, please do not hesitate to contact us

Michael Kruse

Chair, Board of Directors

Bad Science Watch

We will hope that science trumps ideology and this resolution dies in committee.

Bad Science Watch Makes Complaining Easier

Toronto, Canada, – Friday April 5th, 2013 - Bad Science Watch, a Canadian consumer protection watchdog, announced today that it has updated the popular browser-based complaint-filing tool FishBarrel for use in Canada.

FishBarrel, a creation of Simon Perry of the United Kingdom, is a plug-in for Google’s Chrome browser that is used to submit complaints about misleading or fraudulent health claims on websites to the relevant regulator or standards agency. The initial Canadian version supported submissions to the Competition Bureau, but was broken when changes were made to their website. The updated version accommodates the changes, and also introduces the ability to make submissions to Advertising Standards Canada in addition to the Competition Bureau.

“Thanks to our volunteers, FishBarrel is available again to Canadians,” said Jamie Williams, Executive Director of Bad Science Watch, “and the new functionality we’ve introduced will make it even easier for them to report websites of individuals and businesses making unsubstantiated claims.”
The project was undertaken in part to support Bad Science Watch’s Stop Nosodes campaign. The campaign aims to rid dangerous homeopathic “vaccine alternatives” from Canadian store shelves. Information about the campaign and the use of FishBarrel can be found at www.stopnosodes.org.

Bad Science Watch is an independent non-profit watchdog and advocate for the enforcement and strengthening of consumer protection regulation.

For More Information, please contact:

Michael Kruse
mkruse@badsciencewatch.ca (preferred)
www.badsciencewatch.ca
888.742.3299 ext. 101

Watchdog Fights Homeopathic “Vaccine Alternatives” With New Campaign

Toronto, Canada, – Thursday, April 4, 2013 - Bad Science Watch today launched a new website to support their campaign to stop the sale of nosodes – ineffective homeopathic preparations marketed as “vaccine alternatives” by some homeopaths and naturopaths. The website, www.StopNosodes.org, features information for the public about nosodes and the danger they pose, steps that concerned citizens and health professionals can take to help the campaign, and an open letter to Health Canada.

There is no scientific evidence that nosodes can prevent or treat any disease. Despite this the Natural Health Products Directorate has licensed at least 179 nosode products (82 of which are used as vaccine alternatives), assuring the public that they are safe and effective. As a result Canadians choosing nosodes to prevent dangerous diseases like measles, whooping cough, and polio, are acting on false assurances, and are given a dangerous undue sense of security. Additionally, they decrease the herd immunity in their communities, exposing themselves and others to further unnecessary risk. Since they provide no protection or benefit and contribute to falling vaccination rates, Bad Science Watch is calling on Health Canada to cease issuing licenses for nosodes and revoke the licenses for all existing products.

“By licensing nosodes Health Canada undermines its own policies and is working against its own efforts to promote vaccination,” said Michael Kruse, campaign director and co-founder of Bad Science Watch, “we must stop putting Canadian families at unnecessary risk and ban these products.”

Bad Science Watch is an independent non-profit watchdog and advocate for the enforcement and strengthening of consumer protection regulation.

For More Information, please contact:

Michael Kruse
mkruse@badsciencewatch.ca (preferred)
www.badsciencewatch.ca
888.742.3299 ext. 101

© 2012 Bad Science Watch.