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Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity – The EU Goes Pro-Active

Posted by Lloyd Burrell on January 6, 2015 under Electrical sensitivity | 35 Comments to Read

The EU’s European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) recently issued a draft document on Electromagnetic hypersensitivity. It gives a superb analysis of the scope of the issue but what I particularly like are the very positive pro-active steps it proposes for dealing with EMFs. These steps fit into two broad categories:

  • Recommendations on how to prevent more people from developing the condition.
  • Recommendations on how to help people that are already suffering.

Introduction

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 15.58.31The EU paper draws parallels between the current situation regarding electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and the way asbestos was initially dealt with.

By way of introduction the document notes that :

– Two international bodies have drawn up guidelines on exposure limits for workers and the general public (ICNIRO and IEZZ). Following on from these recommendations, international organizations like the Council of Europe and the World Health Organization (WHO) have established electrical sensitivity as a “health condition that can prevent people from exercising an occupational activity”.

– Despite the many studies which have been published by universities from across the world since the 1930s and the fact that the WHO has acknowledged that radio frequency electromagnetic fields are potential cancer risks, there is no scientific consensus on the matter.

Some countries consider ES to be an occupational illness whereas others treat it as a functional disability.

More and more people are suffering from electromagnetic and environmental hypersensitivity syndrome.

– Possible symptoms include headaches, chronic fatigue, recurring infections, difficulties concentrating, memory loss, inexplicable unhappiness, dermatological symptoms, irritability or sleeplessness, heart problems, poor blood circulation, disorientation, nasal congestion, reduced libido, thyroid disorders, eye discomfort, tinnitus, increased need to urinate, listlessness, capillary fragility, cold hands and feet, and stiff muscles.

– People affected by EMFs display no symptoms whatsoever when not exposed to EMFs which leads to the conclusion that any symptoms that diminish or disappear when the person moves away from the source constitute electromagnetic hypersensitivity, even though according to some doctors, scientific evidence of a direct causal link is lacking.

– ES sufferers experience a serious deterioration in their quality of life, not only because of the physical symptoms it usually entails but also because their lives are totally disrupted by the need to avoid exposure.

Recommendations

This is what I liked most about this document. It gives comprehensive recommendations on how to help people that are already suffering from EMFs and how to prevent more people developing the condition. It recommends:

  • That current sufferers should be assisted and steps should be taken to limit exposure to EMFs to prevent the number of sufferers from increasing in the future due to the expansion of devices using these technologies.
  • The creation of white zones as an emergency measure for people worst affected.
  • That legislation be drawn up according to the ALARA principle, a variant of the precautionary principle. That’s to say the thermal effects and the non-thermal (or biological effects) of EMFs are kept As Low As Reasonably Achievable. This would make it possible to adopt preventative measures and to review safety current limits without having to wait for total scientific consensus.

Public health measures should be considered. Reference is made to the current response to Ebola.

Consumer Economic and Social Policy

The EESC suggests the following measures on consumer, economic and social cohesion policy should be envisaged:

A labeling system, similar to that used for energy efficiency could be created to warn of the presence of microwaves or EMFs. It would give the device’s transmitting power, specific absorption rate and any health risks connected with its use.

Restrict advertising for mobile phones that feature children.

Prohibit all publicity that is intended to market mobile telephones to under fourteens.

Prohibit free toys or gadgets for under fourteens that resemble mobile telephones.

Restrict the use of wireless technologies in educational establishments (Wi-Fi, mobile phones, DECT, etc.) s and banning the use of mobile phones during lessons.

Require each mobile phone sold to come with an accessory that protects the user’s head from exposure to EMFs during calls.

Electrosensitives

The EESC suggests that particular attention should be paid to “electrosensitive” persons suffering from an EMF or environmental intolerance syndrome and measures should be introduced to protect them, such as recognition of the illness in the following sectors:

– Health sector: recognition of the illness of electromagnetic hypersensitivity as an EMF intolerance syndrome.

– Employment sector: recognition of hypersensitivity as an illness and adaptation measures.

– Social sector: recognition of the functional disability.

Research and Technological Improvements

The EESC suggest that:

  • Studies and research in this area could be promoted.
  • Research on new types of antenna, mobile phones and devices must be prioritized in order to reduce costs, save energy and protect the environment and human health.
  • Research should be encouraged to develop technologies which are as efficient but have fewer negative environmental and health effects. For instance, monitoring and dosimetry systems could be developed for a more accurate understanding of adverse effects.

The EESC also recommends that systems for evaluating, preventing and managing EMF risks in the workplace need to be improved through the proactive adoption of appropriate measures to mitigate, neutralize or eradicate it wherever necessary.

Informational Measures

Information measures could include:

Establishing a register of products with EMF risks showing their potential for causing electromagnetic hypersensitivity.

Information and awareness-raising campaigns on the prevention and management of problems associated with the condition that target people with “compatible profiles and particular long-term vulnerability” and explain the potential long-term risks.

Raising awareness of the potential health risks of DECT wireless phones, baby monitors, and other household appliances that continually emit microwave pulses, such as electrical equipment that is left permanently on standby, and recommending the use of fixed corded telephones at home.

Power Lines

Rules concerning the planning of electric power lines and relay antenna base stations (cell towers) should be established by adopting legislation on:

  • A safe distance between high-voltage power lines and other electrical installations and homes.
  • Maximum permissible exposure levels and transparent control mechanisms.

Other Measures

Other measures proposed include:

Best practice guidelines should be drawn up in the business sector on EMF mitigating and on measures to prevent, manage or neutralise health impacts.

Access to EMF exposure maps identifying installations and emissions levels.

EMF safety thresholds for the use of products should be regulated.

Requirements for spatial planning tools should include public and private EMF-free zones or “white” zones, which would have to include housing, and public spaces that are free of electromagnetic pollution, including health centres, hospitals, libraries, workspaces, etc.).

Protocols for prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of EMF related illnesses.

Measures to address the private use of mobile phones, DECT-type cordless phones that are not Full Eco, Wi-Fi systems, WLAN and WiMAX for computers and other wireless devices such as baby monitors.

The default mode on devices for wireless systems should be “off”.

The EESC document I have reviewed above was published in December 2015. To access the complete version of the document click here.

Why Am I talking About this?

Many people feel trapped by EMFs as if there’s no escape, no way out. They get overwhelmed by EMFs, what EMFs are doing to them and what they are doing to the world. I’m talking about this because despite what many people think and feel, there is a way forward.

This paper is very much ‘work in progress’ it’s a draft and so will be subject to change. But it shows that as a society there is a way out, a way forward and that there is a movement towards this.

These measures may not be adopted for some time but they are on the horizon. In the meantime if you are suffering from EMF exposures you need to do all that you can do to get your life back on track and deal with EMFs. Personal solutions remain my focus. This is the information I will continue to share.

Don’t wait for society to solve these issues for you. I didn’t. And don’t get wrapped up in all the negativity. I don’t.

Your comments are welcome below.

Update 10 February: To read the final draft of this document click here.

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  • Harrison said,

    Great progress. And right, we should find that balance between awareness and hyper vigilance. Ironically our need to know and need to protect ourselves can backfire on us, making us more victimized by the very thing we’re learning and being on guard about. Right?

  • keini said,

    Thanks Lloyd, for passing this information to us. It looks to be a step in the right direction. You mentioned ebola here:- ozone would be very effective to treat that. Why is it not being used? Dr Mercola had a recent article on the subject. Also see docrowen.com

  • jf said,

    the link to the eesc document does not work

  • Derek Gough said,

    I often hear of grown-ups suffering from this condition but what about children who don’t know what’s happening to them and them get shoved on some register suffering from something else because no one will listen to them because these children can’t express their symptoms .

  • Alasdair Philips said,

    Lloyd

    This is good… BUT – and there is a BIG BUT… there is a meeting tomorrow (7th Jan 2015) to finalise the draft and on the 20/21st there is a plenary meeting of all of the EESC to approve, or not, this draft opinion. The 354 members of the EESC are appointed by EC member governments and are almost all senior “Establishment” people. They are not likely to approve this “opinion” which has thankfully for us been driven forward by a small group of EESC members concerned about EHS issues. One UK main Member of the EESC has written that he will oppose it as it stands as the World Health organisation and Public Health England say that EHS is mostly a psychological problem and no further precaution is necessary.

    We have issued a news story on this:
    http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/news/2015-01-06-eesc-aer.asp

    Very best wishes as ever
    Alasdair

  • Alex said,

    Thank you Lloyd for all you do for all of us who have been so severely disenfranchised by the EMF plague–and for all of us who are sick, but just haven’t yet figured out why.

  • Diane C said,

    Lloyd, The suggestions on your website and in your book helped me enormously when I first became electrically sensitive. Your email today about the EU draft paper helps me where I am now. This credible summary will help me reach folks who, however compassionate they are, don’t always get the bigger picture. The paper’s authors have it right – those of us already affected by ES face serious social, employment and physical obstacles as we strive to improve our quality of life and wellbeing and work to preserve these things for others. Thanks for sharing!

  • Sharon said,

    Certainly this is a document which can be given to those people who imagine that electro-hypersensitivity does not exist.

  • Paul Vonharnish said,

    Yes. I also received this draft from the Power Watch website this morning. I agree that this is an important step in the right direction, yet implementations of these various suggestions could take many years, and it most likely will. For persons such as myself, there are no years left for adjusting the rhetoric. EMF producing devices are plainly DEADLY for those who are predisposed to this sensitivity.

    From the sited paper: “2.2 It is now believed that electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome, which is one aspect of what is known as Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance (IEI), attributed to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from such everyday devices as mobile phones and Wi-Fi, can lead to permanent disability since there are reasonable indications that it could cause anatomical and functional disorders for sufferers to the point that it limits or prevents their “capacity to work”.” (quotes are mine.)

    The issue is NOT that these emissions affect a person’s “capacity to work”. The proposed draft should address a person’s ability to actually LIVE. Like many others, I can no longer LIVE in the ambient RF nightmare generated by these devices. I am now trapped in government subsidized housing. Have lost my ability to work, lost my home, my friends, my ability to seek proper health care, and can no longer go outside without severe and painful seizures. IS THIS CALLED A LIFE??? The obsolete estimates of 3-5% of world populations affected, is off by at least 7% in real terms.

    Because the paper addresses the issue from the standpoint of “capacity to work”, I would submit that they are still looking at economic elements, rather than the moral hazard of permanently destroying 500 million lives…

    In any case: Thanks for posting this important draft. Perhaps citizens in Europe can respond or forward the final draft to proper authorities in their various countries. The United States has no such public organizations for recourse…

  • Wim said,

    Wow, we are really getting somewhere. Thanks for this report.

    I quit programming in 1988 because of at that time unexplained health issues to learn around 2004 that it was EHS. To date the Dutch social system does not recognize or accept EHS as a condition allowing health allowance. Maybe this will change also.

    About children… A friend asked to clean up her house from EMF. Her grandchildren were there a few days whilst all wireless and DECT’s were switched off and shielded cable was installed. When their mother picked them up she said: “What have you done to my children, they are so quiet and well-behaving.”… The only difference was the lack of EMF…

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