Labour MP Tom Watson tabled an outstanding question to the house regarding the uncertainty of mobile phone safety and the lack of appropriate action from various quarters (particularly the industry) to address public awareness on the issue. You can watch the question and response in full. We’ve copied an extract below, but the full piece is well worth reading from the above link.
It is a great testament to science and maths writers such as Ben Goldacre and Matt Parker that no self-respecting politician can make speeches in the House of Commons without taking heed of the science behind their contribution, so at the outset let me tell the Minister that I am sure we both agree that public health decisions must be grounded in scientific facts and that our public policy must be evidence based. As we have both read around this subject, we will probably agree that there is no conclusive evidence to prove the link between mobile phone use and brain cancer.
Let me contradict myself at the beginning of this speech by making an allegation for which I have little factual evidence. From my experience of nearly a decade in the House, it is my view that the more an industry or organisation wishes to hide something unpleasant or do something unpopular, the more lobbyists it employs to talk to MPs. The $1 trillion telecoms industry hires a lot of lobbyists.
I do not seek to persuade the Minister that there is a link between brain cancer and the radiation emitted by mobile phones, but I want to convince her to take a sceptic’s eye to the recommendations before her in future public policy. A number of scientists and epidemiologists believe that although there is no certainty that mobile phone use causes tumours, there are ample causes for concern. At the very least, I ask her to look at the work of Siegal Sadetzki or the earlier work of Allan Frey, and to read “Disconnect”, a recently published book by Devra Davis, and the work of Henry Lai.
Some of those scientists and writers challenge the conventional thinking in the telecoms industry. I make no apology for giving their case a hearing in the Chamber tonight, although I accept that they are not the only voices in the debate. I should like to tell the Minister first why the industry needs to put a greater emphasis in its communications to consumers on the potential risks that mobile handsets cause, and secondly, why I am concerned about independent research. I shall also outline what I think needs to be done to remedy those two problems.