Here we present the latest legal issues that are relevant to the association between electromagnetic fields and health.
German lawyers Sven Leistikow, are dedicating themselves to defending wireless victims, aiming to "improve the situation for all injured by electromagnetic radiation is the goal of our activity". For more information, please refer to their website.
Tunisian court has recognized the danger of masts
The Court of Appeal of Tunis ordered the dismantling of a base station installed on the roof of a villa in a residential neighborhood in the capital on behalf of uncertainties about its impact on the health of residents. Seized in an emergency procedure by the trustee of the local residents, the judge ruled that the risk was significant for the health of residents on the basis of a report of an expert appointed for this purpose. The latter noted that electromagnetic waves generated by antennas can have adverse health effects even if they are installed at a distance of 100 meters.
Referring to Article 99 of the Code of Obligations and Contracts, the Court of Appeal held that "even if current scientific knowledge does not allow to determine with certainty the exact impact of electromagnetic orders, there is a risk impact on the health of residents. This decision has confirmed the sentence imposed earlier by the Court of Appeal Sfax against one of the mobile operators, whereas the presence of an antenna relay near habitation is a disorder Neighbourhood repaired by removing the antenna.
Conservative planning green paper
David Cameron and Caroline Spelman recently published the Conservative Party's Planning Green Paper entitled Open Source Planning. This document outlines their current position on mobile phone masts. The relevant section to mobile phone masts is produced in full below.
Mobile phone masts are an important part of the nation's infrastructure, especially given the growing demand for mobile data services. But there has been significant public concern about masts being erected with little consultation and in an insensitive manner. We believe that all types of mobile phone masts in England (including Network Rail, TETRA and small / pico masts) must be subject to the same, full planning process as other forms of development, so giving local communities a greater say on where they are located. We will also review the case for greater incentives for operators to share masts and allow domestic roaming, and will investigate new technologies, such as WiMAX and wireless broadband, which have the potential to reduce the number of new masts required. And we will review potential health issues related to mobile phone masts in the light of ongoing scientific research.
Collateral Damage - article in the American Trial Lawyer
George Carlo and Milt Bowling have teamed together to write this excellent article, covering the extensive possible damage to human health that may be being caused by the mobile phone industry, considered acceptable due to the large profits the industry bring in as compensation.
"AMERICANS LOVE WIRELESS GADGETS. AND THE TRILLION DOLLAR WIRELESS INDUSTRY LOVES THAT AMERICANS LOVE THEIR WIRELESS GADGETS. The security flap over President Obama's desire to keep his Blackberry while in office was a top-level illustration. And while the Food and Drug Administration, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission and Environmental Protection Agency continue a decades-long double-talk about wireless safety that rivals Abbott and Costello’s Hall of Famed 'Who's on First?' routine, unsuspecting consumers are blindly absorbing the collateral damage."
Court rules that man's tumour is related to phone use in Italy
Today, for the first time, a Labour Tribunal recognized the occupational origin of the illness of a man who for ten years was a company executive in Brescia. He worked for long hours using a mobile and a cordless phone.
Today, for the first time, a Labour Tribunal recognized the occupational origin of the disease of a man who for ten years was a company executive in Brescia. He worked for long hours using a cell phone and a cordless phone. The man, Innocenzo Marcolini, 57, had a benign tumor on the trigeminal nerve. Surgery saved him but the consequences on his quality of life are terrible. He is partially compensated by this victory against INAIL (the Italian Labour Insurance) that recognizes the 80% of disability caused by his occupation. This is the first time a judge has recognized the causal link and the subsequent declaration of disability due to occupational exposure to EMFs.
The information on this court case comes from the biologist Angelo Levis, Professor of Mutagenesis at the University of Padua, an authority on the effects of EMFs on human health. He and Joseph Grasso, a neurosurgeon from Brescia, were called as expert witnesses for the plaintiff. He recounts that he was contacted three years ago by two people, one from Brescia and one from Cremona, who had very similar jobs to that of Mr Innocenzo Marcolini. They worked in customer services, and made extensive use of cordless and mobile phones. While writing with the right hand, they kept the telephone to the left ear. The man from Cremona developed a malignant parotid tumour, while the man from Brescia had a benign tumour involving the trigeminal ganglion. In both cases the tumour developed on the left side of the head.
New Zealand governmental committee makes formal recommendations to government
Based on three petitions, one of which received over 3,000 signatures, the Local Government and Environment Committee in New Zealand has issued a document to the national government with the following recommendations:
- That it consider whether a review of the New Zealand Standard for Radiofrequency Fields (NZS 2772:Part 1:1999) is necessary to ensure that it is still in line with world's best practice
- That it review the membership of the Government's Interagency Committee on the Health Effects of Non-Ionising Fields to ensure better community representation and expertise in risk assessment
- That it consider how the regulatory environment might be improved so that the development of infrastructure can proceed in a way that safeguards community interests
- That it explore with the telecommunications industry how better incentives can be provided to encourage shared use of telecommunication sites and towers, such as co-siting and co-location arrangements, while safeguarding community interests.
Court says cities have the right to bar telecommunications towers
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals has returned a partial procedural legal victory for those seeking claims against cell phone manufacturers for brain tumors.
The link above and the attached file contain the United States District of Columbia Court of Appeals decision regarding six plaintiff cases where brain cancer was allegedly caused by cell phone use. The cases have been referred from court to court since 2001, with many procedural victories achieved under the competent work of the Morganroth firm. Most recently, in 2007, these six cases were dismissed by the District of Columbia Superior Court on the basis of federal pre-emption (The notion that federal regulations administered through the Federal Communications Commission bar any state court claims against cell phone companies for health damages allegedly caused by the phones.) This District of Columbia appellate court has clarified where federal law does and does not preempt state actions. Overall this is good news for those who believe their suffering is caused by cell phones in that it provides a roadmap to potential recovery.
The Court of Appeals summary statement:
".... For the foregoing reasons, we conclude that plaintiffs' claims that are premised upon allegations that defendants' FCC-certified cell phones are unreasonably "dangerous" because of RF radiation are barred under the doctrine of conflict preemption. Plaintiffs' claims with respect to their pre-1996 cell phones (or other allegedly non-FCC-compliant cell phones), and at least some of their claims under the CPPA that defendants have made affirmative misrepresentations or material omissions with respect to plaintiffs' cell phones, are not preempted. Accordingly, the udgment of the Superior Court dismissing the Complaints is Affirmed in part and reversed in part, and the matter is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion."
The practical meaning of this complex decision is that those suffering ill effects allegedly caused by cell phones that were purchased prior to 1996, and cell phones purchased after 1996 that can be proven to be in violation of the FCC SAR guideline, have potential pathways to recovery of money damages. In addition, the appellate court rejected the notion that federal law supersedes a state's right to require cell phone companies to make full disclosures regarding the potential dangers of cell phones. The court further decided that state regulatory actions with respect to cell phone emissions are not preempted, leaving open the door for state-based legislative actions regarding warnings and notifications.
Court says cities have the right to bar telecommunications towers
In Palos Verdes Estates, where the first home builders 80 years ago had to pass muster before an "art jury," it came as little surprise when city fathers nixed wireless telecommunications contraptions that would clash with the community's carefully nurtured ambience and obstruct ocean vistas.
"When you move to a community, you want cell coverage, but you also want beauty and aesthetics," said attorney Scott J. Grossberg, who helped the city wage a legal battle against Sprint.
Earlier this month, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the seaside community, ruling that city officials could bar the construction of unsightly cellular towers. The city's victory was hailed by urban planners concerned about the proliferation of visual blight in the name of technological progress.
ES and the Meaning of Disability under UK Law
A world full of wireless technology is discriminating against ES victims. Is illegal? This is the big question to ask our politicians, industry, doctors, scientists and the courts.
Please download the Disability rights document, ES victims should be protected under UK law. It would appear that ES victims meet this criteria for disability rights under all sections listed within the law.
Governments throughout the world and authorities such as WHO, ICNIRP and the UK Health Protection Agency are ignoring the voice of objection from independent scientists and members of the public worldwide as they continue to encourage the proliferation of wireless devices. The world has created an invisible under-class who are denied the opportunities available to everyone else. ES victims are often unable to use their talents and capabilities to earn a living through denial of access to transport and places most people take for granted.
With other forms of disability, society has taken the view that such a situation is unacceptable and as legislated to ensure equal access and equal opportunity. It is offensive, inhumane and wholly unacceptable to force people out of society to live in the wilderness and allow this sort of discrimination.
Discriminating and ridiculing people who are disabled goes against the UN 22 Standard Rules on the Equalisation of Opportunities for People with Disabilities - since 2007 upgraded into The UN Convention on Human Rights for Persons with Functional Impairments.
ES people should be granted disability rights and protection under UK law. We question the legality of the current system as it is discriminating against ES people.
Judge bans a GSM phone mast because of health hazard
On 18 May the district court of Ghent gave a judgment banning the installation of a phone mast in the suburb of Drongen.
In reaching the verdict, the judge took into account the uncertainty about its effects on human health, accepting that this validates the objection of the plaintiffs, who live close to the construction site of the planned mast.
"The court has now clearly decreed that the authorities have to take account of health hazards and environmental issues, and not only of the visual criteria, when they make a decision about a planning application."
In its judgment, the court recalled a decision taken by a Justice of the Peace in 2000, who declared: "As long as it has not been scientifically proven that radiation is without danger, it should be considered that it is probably dangerous."
French Government imposes phone ban on all primary schools
The French Government today announced their decision to take some strongly precautionary measures with regards to mobile telecommunications technology. From an outright ban of mobile phones in primary schools, to a requirement on operators to provide "stripped" down handsets only capable of texting or without a loudspeaker, this is a clear indication that in the absence of certainty, France is willing to act on the steadily increasing level of public concern.
The measures, which emerged from a six-week review of mobile phone and wi-fi radiation, have been attacked as inadequate by campaigners who accuse the State of playing down dangers from phones and transmitter masts. The campaign groups, which walked out on the government consultation on Monday, wanted a ban on mobile use by children under 14 and drastic measures to limit the power and location of masts. The Government refused to act against masts, citing the absence of any evidence that they affected human or animal health.
Chantal Jouanno, the new Secretary of State for Ecology, stated in an interview that she is in favour of trying out a reduction of relay antenna emissions in certain towns to 0.6 V/m while awaiting the results of a new study from AFFSET, but she continued to insist that there was "a need to distinguish between mobile phones, about which we know there are uncertainties, and relay antennas, for which nobody has been able to conclude that there is a risk". Experiments are to be carried out in three cities to test the feasibility of reducing the power of transmissions.
Mayor of Clamart disconnects Orange base station in the name of the precationary principle
Also in France, the Clamart Town Council have disconnected an Orange relay antenna on the roof of their council offices in the name of the precautionary principle. The present mayor Philippe Kaltenbach has overruled the contract of the previous mayor that had agreed to the installation of an antenna for the Orange mobile network on the roof of the Town Hall and on another building.
Philippe Kaltenbach has decided not to let the mobile phone companies keep the antennas on the roof of these two buildings, and to allow antennas only on private buildings that are at least 100m away from two nearby schools and a creche. This is another in a long line of local French rulings demonstrating a precautionary approach not to the usage of the phones, but to a precautionary placement of the base stations as well.
National Communications Commission (Taiwan) fights legislation limiting buildings to 3 mobile phone base stations
The National Communications Commission in Taiwan is currently fighting legislation, passed last month, that would limit buildings to only be allowed to house 3 mobile phone base stations at any one time.
Although a spokesperson from the Department of Health quoted a 2006 WHO document stating that "there was no reliable evidence showing that radio waves emitted from base stations harm humans", the considerable increase in public concern about health effects from electromagnetic radiation coupled with the continued uncertainty in the scientific community ensured that the amendment to the act was passed last month.
Mayor of Oullins enforces a 0.6 V/m EMF exposure residential limit from mobile phone base stations
The decree is applicable to the urban district of Oullins, France, and summarises the following three points:
- Any new installation of a mobile telephone base station is forbidden if the main transmission beam is sited less than 100 metres from the buildings that receive children permanently or occasionally (crèches, schools)
- The relay antennas presently in place and which are sited within the area defined in article 1 must be clearly identified. The telephone operating companies responsible will be required to guarantee that the electromagnetic emission in the zone specified does not exceed 0.6 V/m
- A certified copy of the present decree shall be sent to the Prefect in charge of the police, the principal Commissioner of the city of Oullins, the municipal police officers and every officer of public order responsible, each in their respective areas, for the execution of the present decree
Relay antennas: a new judgement and a ministerial crisis in France
In the face of widespread protest and numerous lawsuits there is now a ministerial crisis in the country. Apparently in the last few days the unconfirmed number of 135 lawsuits have been launched! In an effort to clarify the situation, Next-up Organisation is putting out a countrywide appeal in order to find out the exact number of lawsuits in progress or about to be introduced
At the request of the Prime Minister the round table on relay antennas, which was supposed to take place on 26 March 2009 with the participation of three ministers (Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, Minister for Health, Chantale Jouanno, Secretary for Ecology and Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, Secretary for the Development of the Digital Economy), has been postponed to the end of April. In the face of the rejection of relay antennas that is gaining ground among the public, on 26 March there will instead be an emergency meeting with certain ministers and the mobile phone companies only. In spite of his reassuring statements, which are based notably on the WHO reports (!), it seems that the Prime Minister is discovering the truth about the health problems of relay antennas.
French judge forbids Orange from erecting a mobile phone antenna in a church bell tower
Residents living near the future site of a phone mast have one a court proceeding against the mobile phone giant Orange. A judge in Angers Tribunal de Grande Instance (District Court) in France, has forbidden Orange from erecting a mobile phone antenna in a church bell tower right next to a school, citing the precautionary principle.
The court noted that "... the (ICNIRP) standard is old (1999), adopted without change by France, and that it is even termed "obsolete" by the European Parliament in its resolution of 4 September 2008 on the mid-term evaluation of the European plan of action on matters of environment and health 2004-2010." They continue to state that, due to the uncertainty of the science and the possibility that the guidelines are insufficient to protect the public from harm to health, coupled with a lack of evidence provided by Orange that they make any attempt to lower exposure beyond that as stipulated in the guidelines, they are not able to permit the erection of the antenna to go ahead.
French court of appeal upholds a decision to remove a base station on the grounds of potential harm to health
The Versailles Court of Appeal has upheld a decision by the Crown Court of Nanterre to force mobile telephony company Bouygues Telecom to remove a mobile phone base station as it constitutes an "exceptional nuisance".
The initial ruling sentenced Bouygues Telecom to pay the sum of 3000 EUR to each of the three couples submitting their case, 100 EUR per day the installation remained erected and to pay all legal costs. After the appeal, a further 6000 EUR fine was imposed on the telecoms company, the per day cost was increased to 500 EUR (but not retroactively) and all further legal costs were also to be paid.
The Constitutional Court in Belgium confirmed a statutory exposure limit of 3 V/m
The Constitutional Court in Belgium swept aside arguments that "only the federal authority had the power to legislate on standards aimed ultimately at protecting human health.", judging that that "the Regions have the authority to prevent and to combat different types of environmental pollution, and that this authority confers the right to take measures to prevent and to limit risks (...), including limiting people's exposure to the risks from these types of radiation."
In its decision published this Thursday the Constitutional Court confirmed a statutory exposure limit of 3 V/m (lower than the federal standard of 20.6 V/m, which is again lower than the ICNIRP standard of 61 V/m), due to come into force in the Brussels Region on 15th March next.
The Court went even further and judges that on the basis of its redefined competence, "the federal authority no longer has the power to set statutory exposure levels. (...) The choice made by the regional legislature (...) to apply the principle of precaution falls within the right of this legislative body to make its own assessment and cannot be rejected simply because there are no stricter international standards in force."
Vatican Radio officials convicted in 'electro-smog' case
An Italian court has found a Roman Catholic cardinal and a director of Vatican Radio guilty of polluting the atmosphere with powerful electromagnetic waves from a radio transmission station.
Cardinal Roberto Tucci, who used to head the Vatican Radio's management committee, and the station's director general, Father Pasquale Borgomeo, were given 10-day suspended sentences and ordered to pay damages in the case, court officials said.
The judge on Monday ruled that a civil arbitration body should set the level of the damages.
One consumer's group, Codacons, has already demanded $337 million in damages and others are likely to join suit.
PPG8 Kicked Into Touch! Deputy Prime Minister Demolishes Government Directive
ICNIRP Certification is NOT Enough - Yasmin Skelt vs The First Secretary of State and Three Bridges District Council and Orange PCS Limited
Government Planning Policy Guidance on masts, PPG8 (Para 98) states: "... it is the Government's firm view that the planning system is not the place for determining health safeguards. ... In the Government's view, if a proposed mobile phone base station meets the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines for public exposure it should not be necessary for a local planning authority, in processing an application for planning permission or prior approval to consider further the health aspects and concerns about them”. But a Planning Inspector who by all accounts followed that advice to the letter failed in his statutory duty - according to the Deputy Prime Minister.
An official Government Planning Guideline that is at variance with the expressed view of the Deputy Prime Minister (and final arbiter of planning issues in the UK) has no place in the planning process and should be withdrawn immediately. Until then the self-contradictory stance of the Government on this issue is untenable, making a mockery of the Democratic Process in respect of mobile phone masts.