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NIH, DOE, DOD Awarded $3.3 Million in Grants to Scientist Who Faked EMF Data

A cell biologist at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory reportedly was awarded $3.3 million in federal grants on the basis of misrepresentations concerning links between electromagnetic fields (EMF) and human cancer. The scientist, Robert P. Liburdy, resigned from the laboratory in March and has since agreed to withdraw his research findings, which were published in two 1992 papers.

Both journals, the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences and FEBS Letters, which is published by the Federation of European Biochemical Societies, are peer reviewed publications. The papers reported that EMF exerts a biological effect on cell function by altering the entry of calcium across the cell's surface membrane. This "observation" purportedly linked EMF to calcium signaling, an important process governing many cellular functions.

The incident points up the need for data access legislation.

The New York Times published the story July 24, 1999. The Times article is available at