Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Council of Europe adopted New Resolutions on Wi-Fi and Cell Phones for Children and more

  • The Council of Europe  http://www.coe.int/aboutcoe/ index.asp?page=47pays1europe& l=en, appointed a parliamentary committee to study the effects of electromagnetic fields on the environment and human health. The committee's report summed up important and current information about electromagnetic fields and proposed specific resolutions regarding Wi-Fi, cellphones, children and more. This report takes into account the current World Health Organization standards and describes the reasoning of their findings and recommendations.
    The report and proposed resolutions were formally adopted at their Parliamentary Assembly on May 27, 2011.

    The official News Release:
    PACE (Parliamentary Assembly - Council of Europe) calls on governments to ‘take all reasonable measures’ to reduce exposure to electromagnetic fields - May 27, 2011
    The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), meeting in Kyiv at Standing Committee level, today called on European governments to “
    take all reasonable measures” to reduce exposure to electromagnetic fields, especially to radio frequencies from mobile phones, “and particularly the exposure to children and young people who seem to be most at risk from head tumours”.

    According to parliamentarians, governments should "
    for children in general, and particularly in schools and classrooms, give preference to wired Internet connections, and strictly regulate the use of mobile phones by schoolchildren on school premises”, and put in place information and awareness-raising campaigns on the risks of potentially harmful long-term biological effects on the environment and on human health, especially “targeting children, teenagers and young people of reproductive age”.

    Following the proposals of the rapporteur (Jean Huss, Luxembourg, SOC), the Assembly called on governments to provide information on potential health risks of DECT-type wireless telephones, baby monitors and other domestic appliances which emit continuous pulse waves, if all electrical equipment is left permanently on standby. They should, instead, recommend “the use of wired, fixed telephones at home or, failing that, models which do not permanently emit pulse waves”.

    Governments should “reconsider the scientific basis for the
    present electromagnetic fields exposure standards set by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection [followed by the WHO and Health Canada],which have serious limitations” and apply as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA) principles.

    The adopted resolution underlines the fact that “the
    precautionary principle should be applicable when scientific evaluation does not allow the risk to be determined with sufficient certainty” and stresses that “the issue of independence and credibility of scientific expertise is crucial” to achieve a transparent and balanced assessment of potential negative impacts on the environment and human health.
  • The Council of Europe is comprised of 47 countries and the European Parliament (EU) represents 27 countries. These two separate institutions of European leaders have examined the issue thoroughly and come to the same conclusion regarding the need to protect citizens from electromagnetic radiation.

    The new resolutions adopted by PACE are consistent with the two
    EU Parliament resolutions passed in 2008 and 2009, which highlighted the health risks of wireless technology (mobile phones, Wi-Fi / WiMAX, Bluetooth, DECT landline telephones), particularly to pregnant women, newborn babies and children.

    In addition, all (1) asserted that the safety standard set by the World Health Organization (which Health Canada follows) is not only inadequate
    but outdated; and (2) affirmed that electrosensitivity is a valid physical disability, and electrosensitive patients require special protection.

    The followings are the resolutions adopted by the European Parliament
    at near-unanimous votes (559-22 votes in 2009 and 522-16 votes in 2008):
    wireless technology (mobile phones, Wi-Fi / WiMAX, Bluetooth, DECT landline telephones) emits EMFs that may have adverse effects on human health... particularly to young people whose brains are still developing.
    "...the limits on exposure to electromagnetic fields which have been set for the general public are obsolete. They do not take account of developments in information and communication technologies or vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women, newborn babies and children."
    the EU Parliament "calls on the Member States to follow the example of Sweden and to recognize persons that suffer from electrohypersensitivity as being disabled so as to grant them adequate protection as well as equal opportunities."
    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ oeil/FindByProcnum.do?lang=en& procnum=INI/2008/2211
    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ oeil/FindByProcnum.do?lang=en& procnum=INI/2007/2252
    Some recent (May 2011) news on electromagnetic fields and health:
    Researchers Say New Studies Confirm Cell Phone Hazards
    Warning: Using A Mobile Phone While Pregnant Can Seriously Damage Your Baby
    Study Of 13,000 Children Exposes Link Between Use Of Handsets And Later Behavioural Problems
     The Precautionary Principle
    The Precautionary Principle is the international guideline for governments to deal with potential health crisis when consensus in science is not yet available. According to “The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) – 2005 World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology", the Precautionary Principle is defined as: When human activities may lead to morally unacceptable harm that is scientifically plausible but uncertain, actions shall be taken to avoid or diminish that harm. Morally unacceptable harm refers to harm to humans or the environment that is - threatening to human life or health, or - serious and effectively irreversible, or - inequitable to present or future generations, or - imposed without adequate consideration of the human rights of those affected. Actions are interventions that are undertaken before harm occurs that seek to avoid or diminish the harm.