So was reported by Stephen Judd on his Spleen blog last year, anyway. Apparently this little piece of cardboard fits inside your cell phone and protects you against electro-magnetic fields. Judd took down their absurd claims line by line.
Well, reader Chelfyn alerted me to the apparent fact that the makers of this piece of junk have warned Judd he has 21 days to remove what he wrote about it from his blog or face unspecified legal action in New Zealand. That would seem to be a shame, since his piece looked pretty on the money to me. So just in case Judd does have to remove it, I thought I would reproduce his piece below for posterity. Perhaps some other skeptical bloggers could do the same – I’m sure Andron would love the extra publicity and it’ll be interesting to see how many new countries their private dick will have to travel to with his threatening letters. Here goes:
cellphones and androntech
What do these guys do?
According to them, they "distributes the Shield Me TM Electro-Magnetic Field 'earthing' card designed to safeguard cell phone users from the electro-magnetic field of their cell phones". According to me, they sell you useless cardboard cutouts for $45 each. Through my local chemist, no less.
Here are some claims they make, and my take on them.
"The card has been independently tested..."
The independent testing comprises Kirlian photography and session with an electroacupuncture machine using one subject. Even if the photography or electroacupuncture machines were not bullshit (they are, and we could have a separate and entertaining post on the history of bogus medical machinery), the experiment is not double blind, and has a sample of one. A properly designed experiment would comprise multiple trials, would conceal from the operator of the equipment whether the cellphone was equipped with an Andron Shield Me card or not, would conceal whether the phone was on or not, and would use multiple subjects.
Furthermore, since the claim is that the card reduces EMF from the phone, a more appropriate test would be to use an standard meter for radio waves (such as an RF strength meter) (or something to measure magnetic fields, like a Gauss meter) on the cellphone itself. Position the meter next to the phone, and measure the signal with and without the card. I wonder why they didn't do that?
"and has been developed by a leading scientist and international health practitioner."
The inventor is not a scientist. The inventor has a bachelor's degree in science and a degree in naturopathy. I note that an earlier version of the website listed Mr Corcoran's qualifications, but they have been removed. Judging by Google results he also has published some interesting pseudoscience, eg a new theory of a light and gravity, which alas has not met with the approbation of actual physicists.
"the Shield MeTM card's matrix is specifically programmed to earth the electro-magnetic field of a cell phone in the cell phone so that it does not earth itself through the head and body."
You cannot use an isolated cardboard sheet to earth microwaves. Nor can you program it. Note that when I viewed their site several weeks ago, it stated that the card was a "programmed cellulose matrix", which is why I refer to it as "cardboard". I note they have since removed the word "cellulose". However, they still advise not getting it wet or exposing it to extreme heat, which seems wise and is perhaps the only really truthful statement about the product.
This disgusts me.
First, most punters don't have enough basic science to tell that this is bullshit, and these guys are taking advantage.
Second, my chemist, who is allegedly a health professional with a university degree in pharmacy, has the gall to sell this as a remedy. I am aware that chemists sell a lot of things that don't work because the public demand them, but $45 pieces of cardboard seem particularly outrageous.
Third, it seems as though actual science in NZ is going down the toilet, so this is especially depressing.
Folks, if you want an equally effective system to protect yourself from your cellphone, I suggest you print out this post, fold it up and wedge it inside your phone. It will work just as well. You can send me $45 if you like too.
Shield me from crap like this.