Here we present the latest political issues that are relevant to the association between electromagnetic fields and health.
UK Parliament Adjournment Debate - Mobile Phones (Health Effects)
Labour MP Tom Watson tabled an outstanding question to the house regarding the uncertainty of mobile phone safety and the lack of appropriate action from various quarters (particularly the industry) to address public awareness on the issue. You can watch the question and response in full. We've copied an extract below, but the full piece is well worth reading from the above link.
It is a great testament to science and maths writers such as Ben Goldacre and Matt Parker that no self-respecting politician can make speeches in the House of Commons without taking heed of the science behind their contribution, so at the outset let me tell the Minister that I am sure we both agree that public health decisions must be grounded in scientific facts and that our public policy must be evidence based. As we have both read around this subject, we will probably agree that there is no conclusive evidence to prove the link between mobile phone use and brain cancer.
Let me contradict myself at the beginning of this speech by making an allegation for which I have little factual evidence. From my experience of nearly a decade in the House, it is my view that the more an industry or organisation wishes to hide something unpleasant or do something unpopular, the more lobbyists it employs to talk to MPs. The $1 trillion telecoms industry hires a lot of lobbyists.
I do not seek to persuade the Minister that there is a link between brain cancer and the radiation emitted by mobile phones, but I want to convince her to take a sceptic's eye to the recommendations before her in future public policy. A number of scientists and epidemiologists believe that although there is no certainty that mobile phone use causes tumours, there are ample causes for concern. At the very least, I ask her to look at the work of Siegal Sadetzki or the earlier work of Allan Frey, and to read "Disconnect", a recently published book by Devra Davis, and the work of Henry Lai.
Some of those scientists and writers challenge the conventional thinking in the telecoms industry. I make no apology for giving their case a hearing in the Chamber tonight, although I accept that they are not the only voices in the debate. I should like to tell the Minister first why the industry needs to put a greater emphasis in its communications to consumers on the potential risks that mobile handsets cause, and secondly, why I am concerned about independent research. I shall also outline what I think needs to be done to remedy those two problems.
Kucinich to introduce bill for cell phone radiation research, warning label
Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) said Wednesday that he will introduce a bill for a federal research program on the affects of cellphone radiation on users. The bill will also call for a warning label for mobile phones, as a growing body of research around the world indicate potential links between long-term use and cancer.
The bill comes after The Post's report Tuesday outlining the growing controversy over cellphones and health. The story looks into the lobbying effort against bills across the country that would require warning and radiation data labels for cellphone retailers and San Francisco's move as the first place in the nation to require retailers to disclose radiation levels of the phones they sell.
"Some studies find links. Some don't. But studies funded by the telecommunications industry are significantly less likely to find a link between cellphones and health effects. We need a first-class research program to give us answers," Kucinich said in a statement. "Until we know for sure, a labeling law will ensure that cellphone users can decide for themselves the level of risk that they will accept".
Half of Europeans would like more information from the EU on Electromagnetic Fields, according to survey
Today, the European Commission publishes the results of the second Eurobarometer survey on Electromagnetic Fields (EMF). This survey was commissioned following a significant research effort over the last few years and in light of the high level of public concern and media interest on this issue. This second report on the topic follows on from the previous survey conducted in 2006 and gives a good view of trends in public perceptions on EMF in Europe. Some key findings of the report:
Electromagnetic Fields: Awareness and concerns about potential health risks
- 46% of Europeans surveyed claim to be "very concerned" or "fairly concerned" about the potential health risks of EMF. This is a slight (2%) reduction compared to the 2006 survey.
- The top 3 objects citizens correctly identify as being sources of EMF are mobile communication masts and mobile phones (both 59%) and high voltage power lines (58%).
- When it comes to levels of concern about potential health risks from EMF-producing items, power lines generate the highest level of concern (35%), followed by mobile phone masts (33%).
Satisfaction about information on potential health risks of EMF
- 20% of respondents say that they have received information on EMF. Of these, 58% are satisfied with the quality of information received. This is more than double that the level recorded in the first survey (28%).
The role of public authorities and the EU
- 58% of Europeans surveyed believe that national public authorities do not do enough to protect them from the potential health risks of EMF.
- 48% of respondents feel that the EU should inform the public of potential health risks, 39% think the EU should set safety standards for products and 36% think the EU should develop guidance for public health protection.
President's Cancer Panel: Environmentally caused cancers are 'grossly underestimated' and 'needlessly devastate American lives.'
The President's Cancer Panel on Thursday reported that "the true burden of environmentally induced cancers has been grossly underestimated" and strongly urged action to reduce people's widespread exposure to carcinogens.
From the report: "Another sensitive issue raised in the report was the risk of brain cancer from cell phones. Scientists are divided on whether there is a link. Until more research is conducted, the panel recommended that people reduce their usage by making fewer and shorter calls, using hands-free devices so that the phone is not against the head and refraining from keeping a phone on a belt or in a pocket. Even if cell phones raise the risk of cancer slightly, so many people are exposed that "it could be a large public health burden," Schettler said"
General Election 2010 Electromagnetic Radiation Challenge
RRT trustee Mike Bell has written an excellent plea to ministers for pre and post election in 2010, asking for a number of common sense governmental implementations with regards to adopting a more precautionary policy towards EMFs.
- Establishing formal British / European standards for emissions (or equivalent) set under the aegis of British Standards (BSI)
- Allow local planning committees to determine where masts be sited paying proper attention to the proximity of sensitive sites such as hospitals, schools, nurseries, care homes etc.
- In an industry that generates billions of pounds each year for the Exchequer to provide via the industry or a hypothecated levy at point of sale funding for research on key issues, including the health impact on children and protection in the built environment from new emitting technologies such as smart meters
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.
MP adds weight to mast campaign
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department plans to revise its leaflet on mobile telephones and health. 
Gillian Merron: The Department does not intend to change the leaflet on mobile telephones and health. The advice given to the public remains as in our current leaflet on mobile phones, which can be viewed on the Department's website at www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_4123979, and companion leaflet on base stations at www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_4123980. Copies of both leaflets have been placed in the Library, and the Department keeps these leaflets under review.
MP adds weight to mast campaign
Rutland and Melton MP Alan Duncan is joining a sit-in protest on Friday to mark the one-year anniversary of an on-site anti-phone mast campaign.
Campaigners have been living on site in a caravan for a year now, providing 24-hour cover and keeping guard against Vodafone which wants to build a mast on the corner of Grange Drive and Sapcote Drive.
Mr Duncan said: "Vodafone needs to understand this mobile phone mast is going nowhere. I'm not convinced the residents were properly consulted. Companies should not, and in this case cannot, ignore the concerns of local residents. I applaud the determination of the protesters and will be glad to join them. Vodafone would be wise to back off and admit defeat."
Limit exposure to mobile phones: French experts
French health watchdogs, in a precautionary move, recommended on Thursday reducing exposure to mobile phones and other portable wireless devices. The guidelines are an interim step pending the outcome of wider research into any impacts from health from radio frequency fields.
"The time for inaction has passed," Martin Guespereau, director of the French Health and Security Agency (Afsset), said at a press conference. "Let's not wait until the indications become pathologies before moving forward with limiting exposure," he said.
More than 1,000 studies were reviewed by Afsset, focussing on mobile phones, Wifi emitters, microwave ovens, cordless home phones and other gadgets that use frequencies of between 9 kilohertz (kHz) and 300 gigahertz (gHz).
Most of the studies did not show any negative impacts. Some research, however, did point to possible health problems, including cell damage, reduced male fertility and a lower blood flow to the brain.
Emphasising caution, Guespereau also pointed out that cellphones have been widely used for barely a decade, not long enough to study long-term impacts from constant exposure. "We cannot endorse the idea 'nothing has been proved, so nothing needs to be done'," said Guespereau.
JMG Statement on Mobile Phones for Conference on Cell Phones and Health
The following is the introduction to a very important document of comments by Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Director of the European Environmental Agency (EEA) presenting to a conference on mobile phones and health issues:
I am grateful for this chance to provide some input into this very timely conference. This event and the related Senate Hearings yesterday, have been, in part, stimulated by the BioIntiative Report, (2007), which helped increase public awareness of the potential hazards of electromagnetic fields, not least from mobile phones.
The European Parliament responded to this debate with its resolution earlier this year which, among other things, called for lowering exposure to electromagnetic fields and for new exposure limits that would better protect the public. We fully share these recommendations.
Today I would like briefly:
- to describe the role and mandate of the EEA;
- to summarise our views about some of the benefits and potential costs to health of mobile phones;
- and to conclude with what we see as the most important practical implications of the current evidence on the cancer risks from using mobile phones, especially for children and young adults.
Time for answers about radiation
The Radiation Research Trust, founded by Eileen O’Connor (centre). Andrew Mitchell MP (third from left) has tabled several parliamentary questions on behalf of the RRT, of which he is a trustee. He has shared the responses with (1-r) Dr Grahame Blackwell, comedian Jasper Carrott – a staunch supporter of the Trust, says Mr Mitchell – Brian Stein, Graham Philips and Mike Bell.
Here, we reproduce in full the questions and the written answers he received - answers which do not substantially move on the debate past the Government's well-worn reiteration of its seemingly unswerving stance.
Question: by Andrew Mitchell MP to the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families: What recent assessment he has made of the effects on schoolchildren of potential radiation emissions from wireless local area networks in schools; and if he will direct local education authorities to adopt a precautionary approach to the approval of the (a) installation and (b) operation.
Answer: The Health Protection Agency (HPA) is the authoritative body on health issues relating to wireless technology. The HPA has consistently and clearly advised schools and local authorities that it does not consider there to be any problem with the safety of WiFi. Its current guidelines state there is no scientific evidence of any health risks from WiFi or that exposures exceed guidelines and there is no reason schools should stop using them. Becta is the Government Agency with responsibility for providing advice to schools and others on various technologies and their use, including their safe use. Becta follows the HPA's latest guidance in the advice it produces for schools and other education providers. Becta's current guidance on the use of WiFi equipment in schools is that it provides a useful and flexible option to complement rather than replace hard wired systems. This advice will be reviewed and updated accordingly as and when new guidance is published by the HPA. Becta has engaged with the HPA on elements of the research programme and will monitor closely any emerging findings to ensure that children are offered the best education in a safe and secure environment.
Question: to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government: What guidance he issues to planning authorities on their consideration of potential health effects arising from the operation of proposed mobile telephone masts; what account he takes of the guidelines for protection from such radiation established by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) in establishing such guidance; and if he will make a statement.
Answer: Planning Policy Guidance Note Eight (PPG8): Telecommunications states that health considerations can be a material consideration in determining applications for planning permission and prior approval. Whether such matters are material in a particular case is ultimately a matter for the courts. It is for the decision maker to determine what weight to attach to such considerations in any particular case. PPG8 goes on to say that if a proposed mobile phone mast base station meets the ICNIRP guidelines for public health, it should not be necessary for a local planning authority to consider further the health aspects and concerns about them.
Question: to the Secretary for Health: What recent representations he has received on a) the adequacy of recommended safe levels of exposure to electromagnetic radiation and b) the adequacy of guidelines for protection from such radiation established by ICNIRP; what steps the Government has taken to implement the recommendations of the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones and what measures are in place to protect children under the age of 12 years from exposure to potentially harmful radiation from mobile telephones; what discussions he has had in the council of ministers on the recommendations concerning EU member states contained in the EP's resolution of April 2, 2009, on health concerns associated with electromagnetic fields; and to ask the secretary what steps he is taking to a) identify and b) protect against the effects of mobile telecommunications radiation emissions of those categories of people who have particular susceptibilities to them.
Answer: Between June 1 2009 and July 8 2009, the department received ONE letter and ONE email both from the same member of the public that mention guidelines for exposure to electromagnetic radiation. In 2004, the National Radiation Protection Board (NRPB) recommended adoption of the ICNIRP exposure guidelines for occupational and public exposure to electromagnetic fields between zero and 300 gigahertz (GHz). The Government response to the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones report was reviewed in Mobile Phones and Health 2004: Report by the Board of NRPB. A departmental leaflet on mobile phones and health includes advice concerning children's use of mobile phones and can be seen on the department's website. In response to the Stewart report, the Government has supported research on exposure to radio waves in the independently managed Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme. The HPA report on electrical sensitivity can be found on its website. UK health ministers have not had any discussions in the Council of Ministers on the recommendations concerning EU member states contained in the EP's resolution of April 2 on health concerns associated with electromagnetic fields.
Question: to the Secretary of State for the Home Department: What assessment he has made of the effects on the health of police officers from radiation emissions from Tetra handsets issued to police forces.
Answer: Since the roll-out of Airwave radio began in 2001, the Government has made an investment into research into the safety of the Tetra technology. None of the research to date has produced any evidence that Airwave is harmful. All Airwave terminals comply fully with international safety standards and exposure levels are typically lower than those of the analogue terminals that they replaced.
[Written Questions] || [DH Written Answer][Written Answer on TETRA]
Swiss Federal Parliament: Demand for the creation of refuge zones of 0.3 V/m for the EHS
A physician and member of the Swiss parliament, Christian van Singer, has put forward a motion aimed towards the reduction in general exposure and overall protection of those members of the public with sensitivities to electromagnetic radiation, citing 0.3 V/m as the level to be achieved.
In accordance with article 160, clause 1 of the Constitution and with article 107 of the law on Parliamentary proceedings, I propose the following Bill: Legislation will institute regulations imposing the obligation for consumer products that cause electrosmog to be labelled with the level of radiation they emit and authorising local authorities to designate areas and places with a low level of electrosmog.
Moreover a study by the Institutes of social and preventive medicine at the Universities of Basel and Berne reveals that the level of radiation to which the public are subjected has multiplied by ten in the last twenty years. In addition many studies show that people who are electro-hypersensitive are affected by electrosmog and suffer from disturbed sleep and other health problems.
Department of Health responses to tabled government questions from Andrew Mitchell
The Radiation Research Trust recently assisted the office of Andrew Mitchell MP in tabling questions to the house regarding mobile telecommunication technology, and has received responses from both the DoH and the DCLG
The questions covered the recent European resolution, TETRA and police safety, electrosensitivity, the implementation of the Stewart Report, and the adequacy of ICNIRP general exposure guidelines.
[Read Doh Response] [Read DCLG Response]
Sebastopol City Council Calls For Repeal Of Federal Cell Tower Health Preemption
The Sebastopol City Council adopted a resolution on July 7, 2009 to actively seek and support federal legislation to repeal limitations on state and local authority imposed by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that infringe upon the authority of local governments to regulate the placement, construction, and modification of telecommunications towers and other wireless facilities on the basis of the health and environmental effects of these facilities.
The resolution also requests the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to pursue a comprehensive global analysis of best practices and scientific evidence in order to update their existing standards and to adequately measure the health impacts of wireless facilities, and calls for greater flexibility for local governments in the State of California to regulate wireless facilities in public rights-of-way.
Green Party motion regarding a consistent party approach to electromagnetic radiation
The Green Party has put forward a motion stating that it should take a clear and publicly recognised position on the subject of electromagnetic radiation that all its members, whether in Parliament or not, can use as a reference point, covering the following key points:
- They recommend the adoption of an overall limit to exposure of the general public: 0.6 V/m for hyper-frequencies (GSM 900, GSM 1800, UMTS, Wi-fi, Wi-max, DECT, etc) and 0.25 micro Tesla for extremely low frequencies (electric current, HT and VHT power lines, transformers, etc).
- The Green Party accepts the development of technologies making use of electromagnetic radiation as long as these limits are observed.
- The Green Party requests epidemiological studies of cumulative exposure to the various frequency ranges.
- The Green Party asks that a government organisation, independent of the industry, be set up with the purpose of evaluating the levels of radiation to which the public are exposed in their daily life.
- The Green Party recommends imposing an obligation to include information on the electromagnetic factor in studies assessing the impact of installing equipment and structures that emit electromagnetic radiation.
- The Green Party asks that legislation progress to include a section on environmental health, under the wing of three ministries: industry, environment and health.
- The Green Party asks our parliamentary members to take an active part in discussion of this question in order to achieve advances in the legislation.
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to take health effects into account on cell tower planning guidance
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) have just passed a resolution to repeal limitations on state and local authority imposed by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that infringe upon the authority of local governments to regulate the placement, construction, and modification of telecommunications towers and other personal wireless services facilities on the basis of the health.
Now the motions (here and here) have been accepted in the form of this resolution, it finally allows the district planning authorities to consider health further than the compliance to the Federal Communications Commission standards.
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.
Independence of experts on the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR)
The Radiation Research Trust welcomes the following questions raised by Christel Schaldemose to the Commission:
- Does the Commission consider that these experts, who were involved in establishing the limit values for radiation, can be regarded as impartial and independent?
- Does the Commission acknowledge that a lowering of the limit values for electromagnetic radiation would entail a major financial burden for European telecommunications companies?
- Does the Commission agree that there is an acute conflict of interests involved in being or having been a member of the ICNIRP and participation in the work of the SCENIHR?
- What measures will the Commission take to find a better balance between critical and uncritical researchers on the ICNIRP?
Sadly, we believe the response by the Commission ignores the fact that the same people are addressing the science along with focusing on the limits when other objective conclusions should be included.
Connecticut governer M Jodi Rell has proclaimed May 2009 is "Electromagnetic Sensitivity (EMS) Awareness Month
Connecticut governer M Jodi Rell has proclaimed that May 2009 will be "Electromagnetic Sensitivity (EMS) Awareness Month.
Citing symptoms such as headaches, muscular issues, digestive issues, vomiting and nausea, and other neurological and physiological symptoms, the governer recognises the symptoms of "EMS" and the cause as electromagnetic radiation (as recognised by the "Americans with Disabilities" act). She comments that the general health of the population may be at risk and recognises that reduction and avoidance of exposure to electromagnetic radiation may help prevent the symptoms and the disease itself.
Philip Parkin speakes up against WiFi
Philip Parkin, general secretary of "Voice: the union for education professionals", has spoken out in a comprehensive interview covering a number of controversial areas of the existing education system.
The first four questions were based on the proliferation of WiFi in UK primary and secondary schools and whether the rollout is appropriate in the light of existence evidence and understanding of the science on similar technologies. In response to these, Philip covered the most relevant points from the point of view of concern over the uncertainty of whether a risk will be present, and if so what sort of prevalence and severity the increase in risk is likely to be:
- "There seems to be an increasing quantity of evidence being produced around the world which suggests that exposure to electromagnetic radiation can have long-term health impacts both on children and adults but particularly children."
- "It is a considerable concern that in schools we are installing wi-fi systems and we have no clear evidence that they are safe."
- "We are not trying to turn back the tide as far as technology is concerned but we have to be sure that as well as doing a job for us, and there is no question that wi-fi does a wonderful job, we have to be absolutely sure that it is safe."
- "Scientists do not say anything with one voice, but there is advice out there. For example, our own Health Protection Agency gives clear advice on children using mobile phones and that children should only use mobile phones in emergencies, and yet no one takes any notice of that."
Written declaration to the European Parliament
MEPs Elizabeth Lynne, Kathy Sinnott and Carl Schlyter have written a declaration to the European Parliament on the risks of exposure to electromagnetic fields resulting from the use of wireless technology, calling for 6 primary issues to be addressed.
- Calls on the Commission and the Member States to facilitate further research into the risks to human health posed by the use of such equipment, so that Member States can adopt legislation on the basis of reliable data;
- Calls on the Member States to adopt the Liechtenstein legislation which sets an exposure limit of 0.6 V/m for mobile phone transmission antennas in sensitive areas such as homes, schools and workplaces;
- Calls on the Member States to produce information to make the public aware of the possible health risks of exposure to EMF radiation;
- Calls for independently funded research into electrohypersensitivity, which is recognised as a disability in Sweden;
- Calls on the Commission and the Member States to consider promoting wired technologies for data communication instead of radio or microwave wireless technologies;
- Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories, to the Council.
EU calls for mobile phone masts to be distanced from schools and hospitals
The European Commission should make more reliable information available about the effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields to citizens who feel that they are not well informed.
The report was adopted with 559 votes in favour, 22 against and 8 abstentions.
The report acknowledges the wide use of wireless technologies and other electromagnetic emitting technologies and their benefits to society, but also raises concerns over their "continuing uncertainties about possible health risks." In particular, there are concerns about the exposure of children and young people to electromagnetic fields. Therefore, MEPs call for stricter regulation and protection for residents and consumers./p>
Better protection for eu citizens through "optimal placement of devices"
The report, drafted by Frédérique RIES (ALDE, BE), notes that industry stakeholders can already influence a number of safety factors, including the direction of the transmitting antenna in relation to living spaces, and the distance between the site and the transmitter. Industry actors are being encouraged to use this power to give better protection to people living nearby, and to prevent a "proliferation of poorly positioned masts and transmitters."
The placement of antennas, mobile phone masts and high-voltage power lines should be negotiated between industry actors, public authorities and residents' associations in order to minimise health risks and legal action cases. This will also ensure that EMF-transmitting devices are kept clear of schools, crèches, retirement homes and health care institutions. In addition to this, the House recommends that mobile telephone operators should negotiate to share infrastructure in order to reduce "the exposure of the public to EMFs."
European Parliament resolution of 2 April 2009 on health concerns associated with electromagnetic fields (2008/2211(INI))
The EU resolution brought forward by Frederique Ries has been passed by a large majority. There are some very powerful suggestions and comments within the resolution that stand to make a substantial change to the way EMF issues are viewed by the European Commission and Parliament. Some highlighted parts are as follows:
2. Calls for particular consideration of biological effects when assessing the potential health impact of electromagnetic radiation, especially given that some studies have found the most harmful effects at lowest levels; calls for active research to address potential health problems by developing solutions that negate or reduce the pulsating and amplitude modulation of the frequencies used for transmission;
9. Calls on the Member States to make available to the public, jointly with the operators in the sector, maps showing exposure to high-voltage power lines, radio frequencies and microwaves, and especially those generated by telecommunications masts, radio repeaters and telephone antennas. Calls for that information to be displayed on an internet page so that it can easily be consulted by the public, and for it to be disseminated in the media;
14. Deplores the fact that, as a result of repeated postponements since 2006, the findings of the Interphone study have yet to be published, the purpose of this international epidemiological study being to establish whether there is a link between use of mobile phones and certain types of cancer, including brain, auditory nerve, and parotid gland tumours;
15. Draws attention in this context to the appeal for caution from the coordinator of the Interphone study, Elisabeth Cardis, who, in the light of existing knowledge, recommends, as far as children are concerned, that mobile phones should not be used beyond reasonable limits and that landlines should be preferred;
22. Calls on the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to be more transparent and open to dialogue with all stakeholders in standard setting;
25. Calls, given its constant concern to improve consumer information, for the technical standards of the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation to be amended with a view to imposing labelling requirements whereby the transmitting power would have to be specified and every wireless-operated device accompanied by an indication that it emitted microwaves;
27. Is greatly concerned about the fact that insurance companies are tending to exclude coverage for the risks associated with EMFs from the scope of liability insurance policies, the implication clearly being that European insurers are already enforcing their version of the precautionary principle;
28. Calls on Member States to follow the example of Sweden and to recognise persons that suffer from electrohypersensitivity as being disabled so as to grant them adequate protection as well as equal opportunities;
[EU Resolution in full]
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.
Petition to Halt Universal Wireless Broadband, A Public Health Hazard
The EM Radiation Research Trust congratulates the organisation WAVR for instigating this petition to the US presidential administration.
The article highlights the number of established and recognised bodies that have publicly stated their concerns that ICNIRP guidelines are no longer adequate for the protection of public health, and comments on the european countries that have taken steps to legislate more precautionary levels of advice. Committing their cause to the development of business infrastructure that is not detrimental to public health, WAVR ask for immediate action on the issue of EMFs and health.
European Parliament Resolution on EMFs and health
The UK Radiation Research Trust (RRT) would like to thank fellow trustee Dr Caroline Lucas, Green Party MEP and her team for providing the RRT with an opportunity to make some suggestions/amendments to the Ries Report before it went to formal recommendation.
Dr Caroline Lucas is delighted that these amendments were passed and that the report as a whole has been adopted. It will now come before plenary which is the entire European Parliament. It is important to understand that the report is 'own initiative' it is not a response to legislative proposals from the European Commission. If adopted it will indicate that the Parliament wants the Commission to review the scientific basis and adequacy of the EMF limits as in Recommendation 1999/519/EC and report back to MEPs.
The Radiation Research Trust strongly encourages you to lobby your MEP to vote for the recommendations contained within the Ries Report when it goes to the plenary vote.
The committee passed the amendments to be included in the report when it goes to plenary vote with 43 votes for to 1 against (3 abstained).
Report on the mid-term review of the European Environment and Health Action Plan 2004-2010
In their Environment and Health Action Plan, the European Parliament covered some key areas relating to electromagnetic fields and health, notably:
21. Is greatly concerned at the Bio-Initiative international report(7) concerning electromagnetic fields, which summarises over 1500 studies on that topic and which points in its conclusions to the health risks posed by emissions from mobile-telephony devices such as mobile telephones, UMTS, Wifi, Wimax and Bluetooth, and also DECT landline telephones;
22. Notes that the limits on exposure to electromagnetic fields which have been set for the general public are obsolete, since they have not been adjusted in the wake of Council Recommendation 1999/519/EC of 12 July 1999 on the limitation of exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields (0Hz to 30 GHz)(8), obviously take no account of developments in information and communication technologies, of the recommendations issued by the European Environment Agency or of the stricter emission standards adopted, for example, by Belgium, Italy and Austria, and do not address the issue of vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women, newborn babies and children.
Richard Spring MP criticises planning laws on transmission masts
Richard Spring, Member of Parliament for West Suffolk, has put together a very thorough and comprehensive article detailing the inadequacy of current planning legislation on mobile telecommunication transmission masts. He explains the possible consequences of these legislations from a practical point of view of democratic power over the siting of the masts and the effectiveness of appeals, to the wider concerns of health and well being for those who have no choice other than to have one erected outside of their place of residence.