Raise awareness of environmental health issues in order to better protect our children and future generations.

EMF Studies

13 June 2012

The Scandal of Quebec Academics' Initiative to Discredit Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields and the Physiological Suffering of Electrohypersensitive Persons

A serious public health threat
In order to convince the provincial, national and international populations to accept smart meters, an open letter has been addressed by 60 Quebec academics, almost all professors from McGill University and the Ecole Polytechnique, Montreal, to the Quebec population.  In the wake of the letter, a project will be set up to offer free radiofrequency measurements to people in their homes and, in collaboration with cardiologist Dr. David Langleben of the Montreal Jewish Hospital, invite those who call themselves hypersensitive to electromagnetic (EM) waves to undergo tests to determine “whether the discomfort they feel is of a psychosomatic nature or actually caused by the waves.”   

The funding behind this initiative comes from Lorne Trottier.  McGill University has received very large sums of money from Trottier who is the owner of Matrox, a large manufacturer of Wifi-enabled motherboards and graphic chips for mobile internet devices. Trottier has set up multiple websites, including emfandhealth.com which serve to suppress the science pointing to the adverse effects of electromagnetic radiation.  Emfandhealth is co-written by Michel Plante who is employed by cell phone companies and Hydro-Quebec, which foresees deployment of 3.8 million wireless smart meters across the province by 2017.

This initiative is very similar to the national clinical study on hypersensitivity to electromagnetic fields (EMF) launched by the French Government in February 2012.  The 44-month « independent » study is evaluating the psychological and social aspects of suffering of electrosensitive persons.   Professor Dominique Belpomme, who is one of the leading researchers on electrohypersensitivity,  commented :  The “starting point of the study a priori is that there is no causal link between 'hypersensitivity to electromagnetic fields' as we observe it clinically, and electromagnetic fields;  in other words, it is affirmed that the patients are hypochondriacs and fall within the realm of psychiatry… The study has been ordered by the public authorities …with a view to demonstrating the harmlessness of electromagnetic fields with regard to health…” 

The persons who organize such initiatives are criminals.  These initiatives are irresponsible and serve only to disprove the link between EM fields and physiological health effects in order to allow the wireless industries, including those promoting smart meters such as Hydro-Quebec, to further enrich themselves with profits. This is blatant discrimination against electrohypersensitive persons who are already struggling with the severe handicap of their illness, a number of whom find it impossible to lead a normal professional and social life. 

Here is the summary of the open letter:

“We are a group of scientists and engineers who are concerned about the perception of health risks from EM radiation... called “radiofrequencies” and/or RF in Quebec and elsewhere in the world.  We lament that the real social issues regarding the use of RF communication systems have been overshadowed solely by the question of their alleged health effects.

“We believe that the fear of wireless technologies is based primarily on : i) misunderstanding of the nature of radio waves and their interaction with the human body, ii) a misreading of the scientific literature on this subject and iii) a distrust of local, national and international public health organizations. …

The letter states that Hydro-Quebec certifies that the intensity of emissions of smart meters, operating at frequencies “close to those emitted” by cell phones and Wi-Fi, are 100,000 times lower than Canadian safety standards.  “A number of activist groups continue to proclaim far and wide that smart meters represent a significant public health risk.”  The letter lists the arguments that have appeared in the mass media against installation of smart meters, with which the academics disagree.

This is followed by their counterarguments:  “the thousands of epidemiological and experimental studies do not show an increase in cancer rates or any other deleterious effect following exposure to RF at intensities equivalent or lower to those emitted by cell phones;  WHO (World Health Organization), Health Canada and the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Quebec (MSSS) have issued clear statements on electrohypersensitivity, namely that this condition exists but may be due to anxiety about exposure to RF and not a verifiable effect on the body;  there is no established mechanism by which RF can induce an effect in human tissues other than heating (thermal effects);  there is no clear link between exposure to RF (within existing safety standards) and any health effects.”

“We are concerned that a moratorium on smart meters based on health issues will lead by direct analogy to a moratorium on Wi-Fi in the urban environment.  If smart meters are banned, Wi-Fi, cellular handsets, radio and TV antennas should logically also be banned since these devices emit a similar or high intensity levels and frequencies than the meters.  We believe that such measures constitute a major backward socioeconomic step with no significant benefit for public health or the environment.”

Furthermore, the group of academics who signed the letter encourages their colleagues from abroad to reproduce this initiative in their own countries, as “this debate concerns not only Quebec or Canada but the whole world”.

André Fauteux, journalist and Editor of the magazine “La Maison du 21ème siècle” has written a letter to Dr. David Langleben, Chief of Cardiology, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, who is collaborating with the Brigade to test electrohypersensitive persons to determine "if the discomfort they feel is of a psychosomatic nature or actually caused by the waves". 

He has also written to Thomas Gervais, originator of the open letter, who is in charge of education at the Montreal Ecole Polytechnique, and is a biomedical engineer and scientific journalist.  Following are excerpts Mr. Fauteux’s letter which is translated from French:

“If I understand the article … published in Le Devoir on May 24, your study aims to demonstrate, as you say, that ‘the events of electrohypersensitivity result from the anxiety generated by devices
that emit radio frequencies, according to WHO. ‘ To my knowledge, the WHO has never said that, but instead asserted that there is no consensus on a ‘scientific basis to link EHS symptoms to EMF exposure.’ It recommends that physicians explore various avenues including air pollution, noise, lighting and ergonomic workstations and says the treatment requires ‘a psychological evaluation to identify alternative psychiatric or psychological conditions that may be responsible for these symptoms…’

“The opinion on electrosensitivity published by WHO in December 2005 will be updated in the light of recent discoveries, I was told in an interview late in 2010 with the Parisian oncologist Dominique Belpomme who is about to publish various studies on the subject. His team has observed that several problems include electro cerebral vasculature, high levels of histamine, abnormally low melatonin hormone (fighting against cancer), and levels of antibodies and proteins showing brain damage…

“Moreover, the Austrian Medical Association and the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) have recently claimed that the first
treatment for electrosensitivity should be to reduce overexposure to electromagnetic fields. ‘More research is needed to (establish) independent assessment tools of the safety of 'Smart Meter' technology,’ said Dr. Amy Dean, board certified internist and President-Elect of the AAEM. ‘Patients are reporting to physicians the development of symptoms and adverse health effects after 'Smart Meters' are installed on their homes. Immediate action is necessary to protect the public's health.’..”

by Meris Michaels with thanks to several EMF advocates and the following references:


Open letter in French and in English:

Article in Le Devoir, 24 May 2012 (in French):

French Government study :


  1. Meris, I can't find any information on the Matrox wifi-enabled motherboards you refer to in your post. Can you provide the model numbers for the offending products? Thanks

    1. You may find product information on the Matrox site: www.matrox.com . The mention of wifi-enabled motherboards came from an article published in the McGill University News on 8 November 2011 ref. http://www.mcgill.ca/newsroom/news/item/?item_id=211861

      Apologies for my error: Mr. Trottier's given name has now been corrected to "Lorne".