"For the first time in history, we face a situation when most children and teenagers in the world are continuously exposed to the potentially adverse influence of the electromagnetic fields (EMF) from mobile phones. Electromagnetic field is an important biotropic factor, affecting not just a human health in general, but also the processes of the higher nervous activity, including behavior and thinking. Radiation directly affects human brain when people use mobile phones. Despite the recommendations, listed in the Sanitary Rules of the Ministry of Health, which insist that persons under 18 years should not use mobile phones (SanPiN 2.1.8/126.96.36.1990-03 point 6.9), children and teenagers became the target group for the marketing the mobile communications.
The current safety standards for exposure to microwaves from the mobile phones have been developed for the adults and don’t consider the characteristic features of the children’s organism. The WHO considers the protection of the children’s health from possible negative influence of the EMF of the mobile phones as a highest priority task. This problem has also been confirmed by the Scientific Committee of the European Commission, by national authorities of the European and Asian countries, by participants of the International scientific conferences on biological effects of the EMF.
Potential risk for the children’s health is very high:
· the absorption of the electromagnetic energy in a child’s head is considerably higher than that in the head of an adult (children’s brain has higher conductivity, smaller size, thin skull bones, smaller distance from the antenna etc.);
· children’s organism has more sensitivity to the EMF, than the adult’s;
· children’s brain has higher sensitivity to the accumulation of the adverse effects under conditions of chronic exposure to the EMF;
· EMF affects the formation of the process of the higher nervous activity;
· today’s children will spend essentially longer time using mobile phones, than today’s adults will.
According to the opinion of the Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, the following health hazards are likely to be faced by the children mobile phone users in the nearest future: disruption of memory, decline of attention, diminishing learning and cognitive abilities, increased irritability, sleep problems, increase in sensitivity to the stress, increased epileptic readiness.
Expected (possible) remote health risks
: brain tumors, tumors of acoustical and vestibular nerves (in the age of 25-30 years), Alzheimer’s disease, "got dementia", depressive syndrome, and the other types of degeneration of the nervous structures of the brain (in the age of 50 to 60).
The members of the Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection emphasize ultimate urgency to defend children’s health from the influence of the EMF of the mobile communication systems. We appeal to the government authorities, to the entire society to pay closest attention to this coming threat and to take adequate measures in order to prevent negative consequences to the future generation’s health.
The children using mobile communication are not able to realize that they subject their brain to the EMF radiation and their health – to the risk. We believe that this risk is not much lower than the risk to the children’s health from tobacco or alcohol. It is our professional obligation not to let damage the children’s health by inactivity."
It is controversial in EMF biological effects. The EMF standards or regulations are quite different in nations and areas due to different EMF risk assessment. Recent EMF studies showed that EMF may damage DNA bylower RF intensity of 0.3W/kg (REFLEX), and that interphone may result in high risk of brain tumor (WHO, 13 nation investigation).
In order to gain more information in EMF biological effects, I searched the CNKI databank for Chinese papers in EMF study (1994-2006). Electromagnetic fields, electromagnetic radiation, power frequency, radio frequency, and microwave were used as key words. There are 383 papers in EMF biological effects in the databank, not including papers in EMF medical treatment, EMF prevention, EMF regulation, environmental EMF exposure assessment, and some papers with PLA secret information. Among the 383 papers, there are 109 epidemiological studies focusing on neurasthenia, ECG, reproduction, immune function, sleep, blood cells, and lens opacity, subjects of National activity report from China these epidemiological studies are EMF professional staffs in controlled conditions.
No matter what the exposure level may be, lower or higher than EMF exposure limits for public, health effects had been reported in these papers (only 1 paper report none health effects)such as neurasthenia, abnormal ECG, disorder of immunoglobulin, bad sleep, sperm dysfunction or abortion. In the 109 epidemiological papers, 32 papers with exposure that are higher than EMF exposure limits for public in China, and the other 77 papers with exposure intensity that are lower than the public EMF exposure limits in China (See table 1).
As above mentioned, EMF health effects need further study, especially of standardized epidemiology. EMF risk assessment and risk communication should be promoted to gain better awareness of EMF effects and to reduce the panic and boycott of the public to EMF infrastructural constructions, such as base station and power lines, etc.
The main aim of the NIR research in Israel is to find ways to reduce the population's exposure to non ionizing radiation either by new technologies, either by new siting policies.
The results of the Israel's INTERPHONE project were published and widely covered by the media. The main founding were:
1. An association between non-malignant tumors and heavy use of mobile phones
2. In rural areas (with low density of base stations) there is a higher probability of getting a non malignant tumor for heavy users of mobile phones than in urban areas.
The crisis was easily predictable in view of the “prudent” attitude of the government (ministries of Health and Ecology), the strength of four pressure groups (Robin des toits, Criirem, Agir pour l’Environnement and Priartem), and the role of the media.
- It burst out when a court decision was taken in February in Versailles to remove a Bouygues Telecom base station in Tassin-la-demi-lune (near Lyon). The French operator Bouygues Telecom was ordered by the Versailles court of appeals to take down a mobile base station, or be fined EUR 500 per day until it did so. The lawyer for the plaintiffs, Richard Forget, told AFP that Bouygues Telecom will also have to pay his clients EUR 7,000 per couple for exposing them to a health hazard.
The case was brought by three couples who fought for the removal of transmitters installed on a mast near their homes in 2006. An initial ruling by the court of Nanterre in September 2008 gave the operator four months to take the equipment down, or pay a fine of EUR 100 per day, plus EUR 3,000 in damages to each of the couples. The plaintiffs’ counsel told AFP that: “A precedent has now been established: all of Bouygues’ antennas are under threat.” The court decision was taken on weak grounds: the aim was to alleviate the fears of the plaintiff neighbours by removing the antenna without any scientific justification. The precautionary principle
was loosely referred to and the Bioinitiative report was quoted.
- the second court decision was taken in Carpentras on 16 February regarding an SFR BTS to be
“demolished” in Châteauneuf-du-pape, on the same grounds as in Versailles (“anomalous
disturbance of the neighbourhood”).
- the third one came in Angers on 5 March and concerned Orange.
- a final event took place on 11 April when ca. 26 people pressed complaint against Orange because
of the installation of a new BTS in front of their home and subsequent symptoms. Soon afterwards
Orange announced that the BTS had not yet been activated!
Lawsuit against EDF-RTE: A court decision was taken related to animal health near high-voltage power line in Corrèze. In October 2008, RTE was ordered to pay large indemnities (400 k€) to a farmer because of damages of ELF exposure on its cows’ health. Even if there is no scientific evidence of such damage, the judge considered that there were no other explanations. RTE appealed against this judgment.