Safety Advice for Electromagnetic Fields (PDF)
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Safety Advice(PDF)
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Growing Awareness

See also: Science Overview | Myths and Misconceptions

Timeline for Growing Awareness (2000-2012)


—The BioInitiative Report of 2012 is released, recommending even stricter safety limits than the 2007 report, based on new studies between 2007 and 2012. (December 2012)
— The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) endorsed cell phone safety legislation H.R. 6358, the Cell Phone Right to Know Act.
—American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) calls for smart meter moratorium. (January 2012)

—The Austrian Chamber of Physicians (Austrian Medical Association) calls for a suspension to the planned timetable of mandatory introduction to smart meters. (January 2012)
—The Austrian Medical Association issues guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of EMF-related problems (March 2012).
—The Vienna Medical Association issued a warning on potential negative effects of cell phone use, and called for safer cell phone use (December 2012).

Italy: The Supreme Court of Italy ruled in a worker's compensation case that cell phones can cause cancer (October 2012).

Canada: Women's College Hospital in Toronto recognizes the symptoms of wireless radiation. (June 2012)

India: Cell towers have been pulled down in India near kids, hospitals, and jails based on a high court order.

Israel: The deputy health minister of Israel called for a suspension of installation of Wi-Fi in schools.


Europe: The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe warns on the dangers of electromagnetic fields, including wireless networks and cell phones. The unanimously adopted draft resolution not only calls for precautionary measures on EMF, but also acknowledges the existence of electrosensitivity.

WHO/IARC:The IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) adds radio frequency radiation to the list of "possible carcinogens", in the same category as DDT and lead. A meeting is held to discuss whether EHS and MCS should be accepted as legitimate illnesses.

International: The Seletun Scientific Statement is released by 7 scientists in 5 countries, calling for reduced exposure limits from power line and telecommunications technologies. (Jan 2011)

Russia: RNCNIRP 2011 report issued on potential effects of mobile phones on children.

India: Indian report establishes health hazards of mobile phones and towers.

—Presidential Cancer Panel advises precautions with cell phones.
—San Francisco passes the cell phone safety "Right to Know" ordinance.
—Pennsylvania introduces legislation proposal (HB 1408) to mandate a warning label on cell phone packaging.
—Orange County (NY) Legislature passes the Wireless Right-to-Know Resolution, urging the Federal and New York State Governments to initiate epidemiological studies of populations exposed to microwave transmitters, such as smart meters, Wi-Fi, and cell transmissions (October 2011).
—In May, the Maine Public Utility Commission approved an opt-out program for smart meters. In September, California held an opt-out workshop to discuss opt-out options. Moratoriums are imposed on Smart Meters in Santa Cruz and Marin county (January 2011). By December, roughly 47 California cities and counties oppose smart meters.
—BBC reports that some people with EHS have reportedly sought refuge in the radio free zone of West Bank, Virginia
—The Center for Safer Wireless hosts the Wireless Safety Summit, a national conference on wireless safety.

—A Labor Court recognizes a college professor as permanently incapacitated by EHS.
—The Spanish Basque parliament calls for promotion of campaigns against children's excessive use.

—Moratoriums are imposed on smart meters in 26 British Columbia cities.
—Health Canada advises children under 18 to limit cell phone talk time.
—More Canadian schools withdraw Wi-Fi for safety reasons.

Some Scientific Studies:
—NIH Volkow study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (February 2011) reports that 50 minutes of cell phone use changes brain glucose metabolism.
—International Journal of Neuroscience includes a study confirming that EHS is a bona fide health condition.
—CalTech study finds that electrical fields as weak as one volt per meter can alter the firing of brain neurons.
—Chinese study on cell phones use and parotid gland tumors


—San Francisco passes a law requiring disclosure of cell phone radiation at point of sale.
—Oregon introduces legislation proposals for warnings on cell phones and cell phone packaging.
—The Commonwealth Club of California hosts two important meetings: (1) "Do Cell Phones Cause Brain Cancer?", Devra Davis' presentation on cell phones and brain cancer, following her book "Disconnect" and (2) "The Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields", organized by Camilla Rees.
— New notable books include Zapped by New York Times best-selling author Anne Louise Gittleman and Disconnect by renowned cancer researcher Devra Lee Davis

—Next-Up opens up a 2nd EMF refuge zone in Italy.
—Vatican Radio Transmitters were found to pose a cancer risk by a court-ordered report prepared by Italy's most prestigious cancer research hospital.

Israel issues an advisory on cordless phones, calling for precautions.

—Canada House of Commons Standing Committee on Health (HESA) invited experts in December 2010 to present information on health effects of radio frequency radiation.
— Levitt/Lai's extensive literature review is published in the Canadian journal, Environmental Reviews, and includes many studies of low levels of non-ionizing radiation.
—Wi-Fi is debated in Canada where many parents want it removed from schools.


Europe: The European parliament voted overwhelmingly to recommend precautions for health with regard to wireless technologies, including cell towers, Wi-Fi, and DECT.

Belgium and Liechtenstein revise safety limits lower than the recommended ICNIRP safety limits.

Finland: Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) recommends parents limit children's cell phone use.

USA: Another US Congressional Hearing on Cell Phone Health Safety is held. Legislation Proposals are made in the USA for warnings on cell phones. Some organizations in LA want to repeal the portion of Telecommunications Act of 1996 which takes away the right to refuse the cell tower for health and environmental reasons. Some governors (FL, CT, CO) in the USA and Canada proclaim electromagnetic hypersensitivity awareness month.

—French government introduces proposals to ban cell phones designed for children under six and advertising for children under 12.
—A refuge area is created for microwave hypersensitive persons in the Drome.


USA: Testimonies of V. Khurana, Herberman, Congressional Hearing on Cell Phones and Tumors

France: France National Library switches from Wi-Fi to wired infrastructure, French Ministry of Health, Youth, and Sport advises a 6-minute limit on cell phone use by children.


USA: BioInitiative Report by international working group reviews approximately 2,000 research articles and finds current standards to be inadequate to protect public health.

Canada: The Canadian Human Rights Commission classifies EHS as an environmental sensitivity and disability.

Taiwan: The dismantling of 1,500 masts was planned for health reasons.

Germany: Federal government recommends cables over Wi-Fi for children.

Europe: European Environmental Agency acknowledges the 2007 Bioinitiative Report and calls for urgent review of exposure.

UK: London Resolution recommends the New Salzburg Exposure Limits (from 2002).

Israel: Cellular antennae are banned from balconies in flats. Some cities resolve not to allow further installation of small-sized transmitters.


Sweden - Stockholm: Cell phone zones established in 2006 due to complaints. There are now claimed to be at least 300,000 Swedish sufferers.

Ireland: Nationwide protest is planned.

Canada: Lakehead University, Ontario bans Wi-Fi access in areas that already have wired installations.

Greece: Athens Appeals Court ruled that 10 mobile telephone antennae must be removed (July 2006).

Italy: Benevento Resolution


UK: HPA (Health Protection Agency) acknowledges that some people have symptoms they refer to as electrosensitivity, but not necessarily accepting it as caused by RF.

Appeals: Hofer Appeal, Lichtenfelser Appeal, Helsinki Appeal Freienbacher Appells 2004 Appeals: Bamberger Appeal 2003 France: Paris Charter: intensity about 0.01W/m^2 for 900MHz, 0.1W/m^2 for 1800MHz 2002 Norway: Former prime minister of Norway and director-general of the World Health Organization banned cellphones from her office for giving her headaches.

Germany: The Freiburger appeal, signed by over 1000 physicians, is concerned with the health risks of cell phones, cordless phones, mobile phone base stations, etc. 2000 Austria: The Salzburg Resolution based off of the first international conference for base station public health issues in 2000, recommended *outdoor* exposure below 1 mW/m2

USA: A cell tower conference was held in Connecticut, and was the basis for Blake Levitt's book "Cell Towers, Wireless Convenience or Environmental Hazard?: Proceedings of the Cell Towers Forum, State of the Science, State of the Law."

Sweden: Recognized electrosensitivity as an impairment in 2000.

Check out Columbia University Law School - Wireless Hazards Panel from Camilla Rees for an introduction to the current events that are increasing awareness worldwide about the dangers of wireless technologies.

BioInitiative Report (2007)

In 2007, an international working group of 14 scientists, researchers, and public health policy professionals, wrote the BioInitiative report, which concludes that current safety standards are inadequate to protect human health. This report compiles 2000 or so studies related to the dangers of power lines, radio waves, and microwaves. The dangers of microwaves reported in this document include genetic, neurological, immunological effects, electromagnetic hypersensitivity (microwave sickness), and cancer. Many of the authors of the BioInitiative Report have now published their findings on EMF in the March 2009 issue of the journal Pathophysiology.

Neurosurgeons and Cancer Research Institute Director Take Notice (2008)

In 2008, neurosurgeon Dr. Keith Goh in Singapore, known for his work with separating conjoined twins, expressed his concern about mobile phones because of what he believes to be a recent increase in brain tumors amongst young adults and children. He also observed an increase in the proportion of these tumors which are malignant. The trend, he claims, is unmistakable. Compared to ten years ago, the median age for patients diagnosed for brain cancer has decreased, with more young people being diagnosed than he observed before.

In 2008, neurosurgeon Dr. Vini Khurana in Australia released a report based on his personal study of mobile phones and brain tumors, calling it "an emerging public health concern" which could be more dangerous than smoking or asbestos. In Larry King Live, he notes other health effects besides brain tumors, such as behavioral disturbances, salivary gland tumors, male infertility, microwave sickness syndrome. He claims that Interphone's results from Northern Europe, Israel, France, and Germany have all pointed to a risk for brain tumors, acoustic neuromas, and parotid gland tumors, and that brain tumors are the #1 cancer killer of kids in the USA.

Ronald Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, sent out a memo to his colleagues in 2008, warning them of the dangers of mobile phones as he became aware of the literature pointing to dangers. This warning was thought by some to be unprecedented, having come from the head of a prominent cancer research institute. Herberman noted that young adult brain cancer has been on the rise in the last 10 years, in particular, for 20-29 year-olds.

USA Congressional Hearings (2008 and 2009)

In both September 2008 and September 2009, the issue of cell phone dangers has been revived in the US Congress, in response to warnings like those of the BioInitiative Report and of Ronald Herberman. Listen to the 2009 Congressional Hearing. In the hearings, it was suggested that there was a real reason for concern and that reform measures were needed to get the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) properly updated on the science. During the hearing, it was also suggested that not only the brain should be the topic of interest, but also wherever the cell phone is used. For example, one study found that prostate cancer rates were higher in men wearing the cell phone in their belt. Note that prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in American men. Concern was also mentioned in the congressional hearing for devices other than cell phones, including computers enabled for wireless internet.

USA Legislation Changes Called for in 2009/2010: Request for Repeal & Cell Phone Warnings

As a result of Section 704 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, state and local governments in the United States have no right to influence the placement of cell towers for health and environmental reasons. In 2009, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to seek federal legislation to overturn this provision. The Los Angeles Unified School District Board also passed a similar resolution.

Around December 2009, Maine and San Francisco proposals were made to require warnings on cell phones, and an Oregon proposal followed in Feb 2010. The Maine proposal is to include a permanent warning about the potential association with brain cancer. The San Francisco proposal would require the display of the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) in print as large as the price, so that the SAR rating can be known at the point of sale. In 2010, history was made when San Francisco passed a law to require all retailers to display radiation levels of cell phones. In February 2010, the Oregon Senate also introduced legislation to require warning labels on new cell phones sold in Oregon.

European Governments Take Notice and Issue Health Advisories (2008 and 2009)

In February 2009, Frederique Ries brought a before the European Parliament on the health concerns associated with mobile phones, mobile phone masts, and household wireless appliances such as DECT cordless phones. Later in April 2, 2009, the European Parliament overwhelming passed a resolution on Health Concerns Associated with Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs), 559 to 22. One of the resolutions is that the wireless telecommunications facilities should not be placed near schools, places of worship, retirement homes, and health care institutions.

In the last few years, European nations have issued health advisories around personal wireless devices, such as mobile phones. Check out: Cell Phone Radiation: Science Review on Cancer Risks and Children's Health, Section 3: Government Action on Cell Phone Radiation Levels. For example, in 2008, the French Ministry of Health, Youth and Sport advised a 6-minute limit on cell phone use by children and in 2009, France also considered environmental health proposals banning cell phones and cell phone advertising for young children.

It is no longer just mobile phones that are under surveillance. Concerns are also arising about Wi-Fi and cordless phones. The Swedish Union of Clerical and Technical Employees in Industry advised minimizing exposure to DECT cordless systems because they operate continually at maximum power. The German Federal Radiation Protection Agency also noted in a January 2006 press release that DECT cordless phones are often the strongest source of microwave radiation in a home. In December of 2005, the Public Health Department of Salzburg, Austria issued a warning about WLAN and DECT devices for schools, based on evidence of possible effects such as headaches, concentration and memory problems. In 2007, the Germany Federal government had recommended cabled connections over Wi-Fi for children, as a precautionary measure.

European Governments Tighten Safety Limits (2008 to 2010)

Recently, European countries have started making their mobile phone mast safety limits stricter than before in response to safety concerns, going much further than ICNIRP's safety limit. For example, in May 2008, Liechtenstein adopted a law to reduce its limits to 0.6V/m (1 mW/m2) with 2013 as the target date for phone relay masts, based on the Bioinitiative Report.s recommendations. Belgium has also recently reduced its limits to 3 V/m (24 mW/m2) in 2009, joining Luxembourg which had the same limit since 2000. In 2010, Monaco decides to adopt a limit of 6 V/m. This is a step in the right direction, although it should be noted that health symptoms still occur even below this level.

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