• 15 FEB 09
    • 0

    1919: Reporting on the EU Workshop on EMF and Health

    From Cindy Sage to the CHE news group (Highly recommended See: http://www.healthandenvironment.org/):

    Conference Report

    The European Commission Workshop on EMF and Health was
    held in Brussels this last week (February 11, 12th). It addressed science,
    policy and public concerns regarding EMF, particularly RF and cell phone use,
    and worker exposure to EMF in occupational settings in the EU countries.

    About 150 members from governmental agencies, advocacy groups,
    journalists, industry representatives and expert advisors to the EU
    science committees spent a day and a half hearing presentations on
    current EU Directives (enforceable rules) and Resolutions (statements of
    position and commitment), product safety issues, and regulatory frameworks.
    Laurent Bontoux and Mark Bogers from DG Sanco (Directorate-General for Health and Consumers for the EU) gave introductory talks on the EU Precautionary Approach and EU product legislation.

    Conclusions of the BioInitiative Report were presented by Prof. Michael Kundi, PhD
    Medical University of Vienna and BioInitiative author. David Gee, European Environmental Agency and author of the Precautionary Principle chapter of the BioInitiative Report presented a talk on why action is needed now on EMF – in relation to lessons learned from the history of other environmental toxins. Gee told the audience that mobile phone manufacturers will not be able to claim immunity if, in ten years or so, it is determined that use of mobile phones cause brain cancer or other illness. They are forewarned now, and simply saying “but we were in compliance with ICNIRP safety limits” will not be sufficient reason for ignoring the growing evidence.

    Eileen O’Connor from the UK Radiation Research Trust presented a talk on “Why People Are Worried about EMF: A UK Perspective”. She drew from personal experience and discussed the high public concern in the UK about cell phone masts (towers).

    The CHE-HEAL group was well-represented by Christian Farrar-Hockley – on the significance of EMF among other health and environmental issues that CHE-HEAL deals with in the EU countries.

    Joachim Schuz and Mats-Olof Mattsson presented updated findings by the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR). Although somewhat more recognition was given to the evidence linking EMF and Alzheimer’s, and the lack of study on mobile phone effects on children, this update was little changed from the 2006 SCENIHR opinion dismissing most risks. It was clear from the presentation that SCENIHR uses a ‘causal or conclusive’ standard of evidence requiring scientific certainty before determining that health risks exist; it does not use a public health standard of evidence that asks “is it possible that health risks exist”.

    The Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF – a lobby organization for telecom) presented reasons why it believes its members are sufficiently protected from criticism and potential litigation because products (i.e. mobile phones) comply for the most part with ICNIRP safety limits.

    Dr. Andrzej Rys, MD and Director of Public Health for the European Commission gave the final talk, and specifically asked the BioInitiative to work with the EU on RF matters. He is a medical doctor and public health expert who is well positioned and apparently interested in furthering progress on new, biologically-based public exposure standards and implementing precautionary strategies with respect to wireless technologies.

    Submitted by:

    Cindy Sage
    Co-Editor
    BioInitiative Report

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