Motorola counters research memo
I would like to take strong exception to the tone and substance of RCR’s March 3 article on Motorola’s 1994 response to biological research conducted at the University of Washington by Drs. Henry Lai and Narendra Singh. The article failed to report certain critical facts presented by Motorola. Through editorial acts of commission as well as omission, your report painted an incomplete and misleading picture of what Motorola did at the time to evaluate and understand the Lai/Singh research. For example, RCR completely disregarded Motorola’s epidemiological study and other research supporting the safety of our products.
Your report leapt to unwarranted conclusions about Motorola’s motives, based on very selective excerpts from a single office memo. It also rehashed questions about the safety of cellular telephones that deserve a fuller treatment than you offered. As we attempted to make clear in several conversations with your reporter, there is a sound scientific basis for public confidence in the safety of cellular telephones. It is evidenced, in part, by the periodic scientific reviews undertaken by various expert panels, standard-setting bodies and health authorities around the world. Motorola is widely recognized for its longtime involvement in this area as a supporter of independent research and for leadership in dosimetry. As noted above, our sponsored research has included a large-scale epidemiological study of Motorola employees, who have spent decades working with and around radio frequency energy. In a review of the health histories of more than 93,000 Motorola employees, Dr. Robert Morgan discovered significantly fewer brain cancer deaths than would be expected based on national averages. These findings to date are consistent with laboratory research that has produced additional scientific support for the absence of adverse health effects from the radio signals generated by wireless telephones. In the last few years, newly completed research findings-while perhaps not widely reported in the media-have added to the body of science that underlies the safety of these products.
Your report misstated Motorola’s motives as well as the chronology of our actions with regard to the Lai/Singh research. Our involvement with this issue was not a response to an impending report in a newsletter, as you assert, but began several months earlier through direct scientific discourse with the principal investigators. Moreover, RCR chose to ignore the fact-emphasized several times to your reporter-that it was Motorola that commissioned independent follow-up research in response to the legitimate questions experts had raised about the methods employed by Drs. Lai and Singh, and the validity and significance of their reported findings.
In addressing the scientific and public questions certain to be generated by the Lai/Singh research, Motorola’s intent all along was to assure that the Lai/Singh work was viewed through the lens of sound science and subjected to the same rational review that would be accorded any study of this kind. This is particularly important with studies that could prompt premature or unfounded speculation bearing on issues in litigation. In short, our activities were fact-based and driven by a strong sense of responsibility to our customers, our employees and the public.
Furthermore, it was only logical that Motorola during this time had contact with CTIA and the forerunner to WTR. It should come as no surprise that CTIA and its members communicate on issues important to the industry. Moreover, I would note that the SAG by this time had commissioned an objective scientific review of the assay used by Drs. Lai and Singh, while Motorola had commissioned an independent replication study of their research. These were independent and responsible actions. As you should know, Motorola has sponsored more research in this area than perhaps any other entity in the world. From time to time, we are asked to share our experience and expertise, and doing so in no way impinged on the independence or scientific judgment of the SAG/WTR research program. Any suggestion to the contrary is groundless.
The attention to detail that Motorola exercised in the case of the Lai/Singh research is the essence of sound science and corporate responsibility. We have done what any corporation should do to effectively and factually address questions that might be seen by some, accurately or not, as bearing on the safety of our products. I request that you publish this letter to set the record straight.
Albert R. Brashear
corporate vice president and director
Motorola Inc. Corporate Communications
Spectrum policies not well reasoned
Just a note to say that although I usually enjoy your “Viewpoint” column, the Feb. 24th issue seems especially apt.
Being an engineer myself, I’ve marveled at how some decisions come out of the commission. It’s abundantly clear that an agency dedicated to policing spectrum occasionally needs more knowledge and guidance about exactly how spectrum works.
The Society of Broadcast Engineers, on whose board of directors I serve, has been attempting for several years to ensure that the commissioners have good and prudent advice on engineering matters.
Any encouragement that you, your publication, or the industry in general might be able to summon would be welcomed, but moreover would be a step in the right direction for more reasoned, effective and efficient spectrum management policies.
For instance, in your case in point: why is an inherently narrowband service (ambulance dispatch) being placed right next to, or mixed in with, an inherently wideband service (television)? I’m a broadcast engineer, and my stepson is a police dispatcher, so I’ve got some feel for each service’s need for spectrum, but isn’t there a more compatible choice? This would seem to qualify as questionable engineering.
If you’d like to help in the effort to make engineering considerations have the “top billing” that you’ve agreed they ought to have, contact Chris Imlay, the SBE’s general counsel and our liaison to things governmental. He can be reached at Booth, Freret & Imlay, 1233 20th St. NW Suite 204, Washington D.C. 20036. Phone him at (202) 296-9100, or e-mail him at [email protected]
Thomas P. Weber