- Part 1. Portrait of a Conspiracy: Prof. Alexander Lerchl – January 29, 2021
- Part 2. Portrait of a Conspiracy: Prof. Alexander Lerchl – February 8, 2021
- Part 3. Portrait of a Conspiracy: Prof. Alexander Lerchl – February 17. 2021
Part 3: Lerchl’s Unattainable Prize: The IARC RF Panel
A Chance To Vote on RF–Cancer Link
But Disqualified for Having Ties to Industry
Published: February 16, 2021
By: Dr. Louis Slesin
In: Microwave News
Alexander Lerchl wanted a seat at the table and wanted it bad. It was 2010 and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) was setting up a working group to assess the cancer risks of RF radiation. The meeting would be a landmark event with major long-term implications for the cell phone industry.
As it turned out, in May 2011, the working group voted, by a large margin, to classify RF, including cell phone radiation, as a possible human carcinogen. But that outcome was far from assured before its 30 members —from 14 countries— deliberated for eight days at IARC headquarters in Lyon, France.*
Lerchl, a professor at Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany, was making a name for himself as a self-appointed debunker of claims of radiation health effects. (His actions would later backfire and lead to his censure.) Lerchl craved to be invited to Lyon, but IARC would not have him. His ties to the telecom industry disqualified him, the cancer agency decided. IARC didn’t trust Lerchl to be fair and impartial.
“I am pretty upset,” Lerchl told a colleague at the time. He would remain upset for years to come.
A year earlier, in 2009, Lerchl had turned 50 and was on a roll. He was appointed chairman of the Non-Ionizing Radiation Committee of the German Commission on Radiological Protection (SSK for short). The SSK advises the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS), the focal point for the government’s work on RF safety. Lerchl had become the most senior RF advisor in Germany.
He was also negotiating with the BfS for a contract to investigate the cancer risk of 3G radiation. He would soon be awarded €458,000 (US$600,000) for a three-year study. It would be his sixth BfS-sponsored animal study since 2000. (A table of Lerchl’s BfS grants is here.)
IARC was Lerchl’s chance to step onto the international stage. If selected, his standing within German academia would get a boost as well. Lerchl was —and still is— a professor of biology at Jacobs University, a private institution which is not in the top tier. Named after a family of coffee merchants, Jacobs is sometimes called the “coffee university.” The IARC panel would include professors from some of the world’s leading institutions and Lerchl would profit from being in their company.
*Lerchl Nominates Himself; IARC Says No
*Another Skirmish with Robert Baan
*Diagnose Funk Cites Industry Ties; Lerchl Sues
*Baan: Reason Was His Links to Industry
*Masquerading as “Don Smith”?
Dr. Louis Slesin: This story is a chapter of a planned book on the links between electromagnetic radiation and cancer and the failed search for answers. I am releasing this bit of history now because of its obvious relevance to the recent court decision ordering Lerchl to stop his mischief.
P.S. for publishers and editors. If you’ve made it this far, maybe you would be interested in my book. I’m easy to reach.