God bless the Europeans! They have consistently been ahead of the curve on the EMF issue, way ahead of our own country’s corporate-owned media and industry-influenced regulatory agencies, and they’ve done it again.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the 47-member Council of Europe passed a resolution on May 27, 2011 recommending sweeping changes to the way cell phones are used, how they are marketed, and how safe exposure limits are determined. The resolution is entitled, “The potential dangers of electromagnetic fields and their effect on the environment,” and it covers the effects of EMF fields on human health. The direct link to a PDF version of the Council’s resolution is here.
This was followed four days later by a landmark resolution by the World Health Organization’s International Agency on Research on Cancer reversing their previous position that cell phones were safe. They announced that exposure to wireless devices are now “possibly” carcinogenic. To view the press release, click here.
Bucking an industry that dominates federal regulatory agencies in this country, the Council of Europe resolution urges all of their member countries to follow the ALARA rule, advocating that EMF exposure levels from wireless devices and electric power be, “as low as reasonably achievable.” They also recommend the adoption of the precautionary principle in setting new EMF exposure standards that would be 10,000 to 100,000 times lower for the indoor environment than what is currently accepted as safe by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) (see here).
To achieve these more stringent standards, member countries are urged to raise awareness and educate the public, particularly young children (and their parents), teenagers and people of reproductive age as to the potential short and long-term dangers of EMF exposure from wireless devices, power lines and home electrical wiring and appliances.
The resolution recognizes, “both the so-called thermal effects and the athermic or biological effects of electromagnetic emissions or radiation.” They acknowledge that, “waiting for high levels of scientific and clinical proof before taking action to prevent well-known risks can lead to very high health and economic costs, as was the case with asbestos, leaded petrol and tobacco.”
The Council is forward-thinking in terms of potential long-term economic costs to the very governments of their member countries if they ignore the health effects from the public’s use of these devices. Doing so, they say, “could lead to extremely high human and economic costs of inaction if early warnings are neglected,” wisely realizing that they would eventually pick up the tab for treating the harmful health effects of EMF exposure through their national health care systems.
The Council is also one of the first organizations to consider the needs of a group among us who are already symptomatic from these technologies. They advise their member countries to, “pay particular attention to ‘electrosensitive’ persons suffering from a syndrome of intolerance to electromagnetic fields and introduce special measures to protect them, including the creation of wave-free areas not covered by the wireless network.”
Except for the country of Sweden, I have never heard of any governmental organization even acknowledge that these people exist. That provision alone would be a God-send to many of those with whom I work on a daily basis as an EMF consultant, who find going out to most public places to be like entering a minefield. It’s hard for these individuals to stay symptom-free in the face of a world that now wants wireless everywhere.
The Council even goes beyond advocating the reduction of human exposure to existing wireless technologies by advocating that member countries, “step up research on new types of antennas and mobile phone and DECT-type devices, and encourage research to develop telecommunication based on other technologies which are just as efficient but have less negative effects on the environment and health.”
As a side note, did you catch the words, “other technologies” in the sentence above? What does the Council possibly know that we don’t? Could there be a technology that carries the voice information without causing harm? In fact, Dr. George Carlo told us in 2008 when he presented his keynote address to our profession’s annual conference that the Department of Defense, who invented cell phone technology forty years ago, knew of an additional frequency that could be broadcast to nullify the harmful effects of the most damaging frequency, the so-called “low-frequency information carrying radio wave,” that is part of the transmission from every phone and cell tower.
Dr. Carlo said that unfortunately commercial cell phone manufacturers did not adopt this technology forty years ago when they started making the cell phones that we use. He said they could at any time, but to do so now would mean replacing all existing cell phones and broadcast transmitters currently in use (an economic boon for them) but also forcing them to explain why this would be necessary. That would potentially open them to litigation for any decisions they may have made in the past to withhold information about potentially harmful health effects caused by use of their products from the public, as did happen with the tobacco companies.
Incorporating this neutralizing broadcast frequency into phones and antennas of the future may yet come to pass as the only way out. I predict it can only happen if the manufacturers are given immunity from prosecution, leaving any harm from past cell phone use uncompensated but sparing everyone from that day forward. At least that is one potential scenario.
The Council’s resolution further advocates educating the public as to the dangers of those wireless devices in our homes that continuously emit radio frequencies, including cordless telephone base units, Wi-Fi Internet routers, and even baby monitors.
They also advocate that electric power lines and inhabited dwellings be kept apart from each other at a safe distance, much farther than currently practiced in the building trade. They also say the siting of all new radio and cell phone antennas should be done so as to protect the health of nearby residents, not “solely according to the operators’ interests.” That’s a refreshing concept!
Finally, the Council recommends transparency, research conducted independent from industry, improvement of risk assessment, and even that member countries “pay heed to and protect ‘early warning’ scientists.”
Such a resolution could not come at a more opportune time. More than 1.4 million base transmitters exist in the world today connecting with over 5 billion cell phones, each of which is a miniature transmitter in itself (ever notice how many people around you at Whole Foods are talking or texting on their cell phone?). Wireless “hot spots” in homes and businesses are sprouting up everywhere.
So-called “Smart” electric meters are being installed on houses that emit frequent bursts of radio frequency (although less powerfully so here in Southern California than in the Bay Area due to different manufacturers of the meters here than there). Those frequencies penetrate into and between homes. Smart meters are supposed to “talk” to your appliances to monitor and regulate power usage in your home. New refrigerators and washer / dryers now have “always-on” wireless transmitting devices installed inside them that you cannot disable, emitting potentially harmful frequencies into your home whether you want them or not.
All of this results in a blanket of “electro-smog” covering urban and suburban environments inside and outside our homes. A growing percentage of the population, some estimate at 3-5%, are already sensitive to these EMFs. An even larger percentage, upwards of 30% of the total population, are affected and don’t even know it.
Symptoms as diverse as headache, insomnia, fatigue, “brain fog,” attention deficit disorder (ADD), learning disabilities and even more serious diseases such as stroke, heart attack and cancer have been shown to be caused by long-term use of these technologies. See the page “Cell Phone and Radio Frequency Risks” on this website for more information.
The cell phone industry continues to deny that there is a link between illness and their products, but the research is now overwhelming and is heavily reported by media outside the US. I am told by an English aquaintance that in his home country, when news of research is announced showing the harm caused by cell phone use, their media always reports it.
We applaud the courage of the officials at the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly in speaking the truth and bringing these facts to the public’s attention. We hope that their member countries will implement these provisions to protect the health of their citizens, and we hope that doing so will put pressure on countries in the rest of the world, including the US, to follow suit.
We also appreciate the World Health Organization’s International Agency on Research on Cancer’s new embrace of the research showing that cell phones are “possibly” carcinogenic, reversing its previous position that echoed industry’s claim that cell phones are safe.
I highly recommend that you read in full the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Committee Resolution 1815, “The potential dangers of electromagnetic fields and their effect on the environment.” The direct link to the resolution is here.
Here are links to articles on the Council of Europe resolution:
Microwave News (look under Short Takes, May 27)
Citizens for Safe Technology
Here are links to articles on the WHO/IARC resolution:
EMF Safety Network
Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, Finland
Citizens for Safe Technology
Again, I present links elsewhere on my own website to additional studies, including no less than 20 other websites each with multiple research studies on the health effects of exposure to EMFs:
“Cell Phone and Radio Frequency Risks”
I also have an article on the position paper of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine on the potential effects of EMFs and RF on human health. Click here to link to that article.
I also have pages on how to use these technologies more safely and other pages of interest on my website. Here are two of them:
“Protect Yourself from Cell Phone Frequencies”
“Safer Use of Computers”
Please pass this article on to your friends to alert them to the dangers of these technologies and how they can protect themselves and use them wisely. Let them know that what we are hearing from media in this country is not the whole story. There are those in government in other parts of the world who do listen to their scientists and to those in the public who are affected by and concerned about this technology, and who are doing something about it.