Part 1 of 2
The Center for Public Integrity’s Feb. 8 article “Meet the Rented White Coats Who Defend Toxic Chemicals,” by David Heath chronicles a 2008 example of mercenary science. A lawyer defending the asbestos industry attempted to pin the blame for mesothelioma on tobacco. Evan Nelson contacted Peter Valberg of Gradient Corporation, who was “happy to oblige” by publishing supportive science in peer-reviewed journals for a fee. According to David Heath, “Valberg would adopt Nelson’s theory as an expert witness in lawsuits, using it against mesothelioma victims such as Pam Collins of Bellevue, Ohio.”
What Health did not report is that Peter Valberg curiously also had a lucrative career defending tobacco. A search in the Legacy Tobacco Archives at University of California, San Francisco yields 396,225 matches. In fact, Valberg continues to practice tobacco science. In early 2014, Valberg prevailed for Phillip Light cigarettes, denying victims the right to take part in a class action lawsuit because they had not paid an extra surcharge for Light cigarettes.
The same week Valberg defended Phillip Morris, he also appeared on behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities to negate citizen health concerns.
What is a tobacco scientist doing testifying on behalf of state utility regulator, financed by taxpayer and/or ratepayer expense?
Peter Valberg is the “expert” tapped by the energy and telecommunications industries and federal government backing the “Smart Grid,” to provide “evidence” that wireless smart utility meters and infrastructure are safe.
The Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative, (a reincarnation of the corrupted Tobacco Research Institute) lists Valberg as one of two expert sources supporting the claim that smart meters are safe. The Utilities Telecom Council also deferred to Valberg. Industry and regulators across the US have based their rejection of claims of physical harm on interpretation by Peter Valberg, with no scientific study, oversight, investigation or protection of human rights. Scores of California residents were disabled by the acute onset of illness coinciding with smart meter installation, now extended to many other states.
Valberg provided “expert testimony” to the Worcester Zoning Board of Appeals in support of the National Grid smart meter pilot program, although he was mis-identified as Peter Walberg. Valberg also testified on behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities to negate citizen health concerns. Exponent, another notorious product defense firm, provided testimony alongside Gradient across the country to deny citizen health complaints concerning radio frequency-emitting meters, most recently in the Maine Supreme Court smart meter health lawsuit.
In the meantime, neurological deaths for the over 55 age groups have skyrocketed in the US, out of proportion to those in other countries, and childhood cancer, infertility, and epidemics of asthma, allergies, autism and ADHD are robbing a generation of children of the right to health.
Before continuing to invest millions of dollars of wireless utility infrastructure and meters, it’s time to get to the bottom of the smart meter debacle. Because if we don’t, the smart meter industry will blame the Wi-Fi industry who will blame the cellphone industry, long after a lot of people have died a premature death following years of profound physical pain.
A system of checks and balances must prevail to insure that Valberg’s absence of morality and ethics does not prevail. The collusion between the MA DPU regulators, Massachusetts utilities, and Valberg’s firm Gradient, which has also provided testimony on the safety of electric and magnetic fields for other large infrastructure projects in the Commonwealth, must come to an end.
Lawyer Evan Nelson, who recruited Valberg to participate in the plan to shift the blame for lung cancer from asbestos to tobacco, was reportedly fired from his law firm Tucker Ellis & West. Faced with an ethical decision, the law firm took action. Now, it’s our turn.