Consistently apply the precautionary principle in mobile communications – Doctors for Environmental Protection (AefU),

For economic reasons, mobile phone providers are demanding higher system limit values ​​for their mobile phone systems. Swiss expert reports do not give the all-clear with regard to the health effects of mobile phone radiation and call for consistent preventive measures. The Doctors for Environmental Protection (AefU) demand that medical expertise is increasingly included in the digital agenda.

The development of mobile radio makes us doctors for environmental protection (AefU) worried. Our “Working Group on Electromagnetic Fields and Health” has been following studies on the influence of non-ionizing radiation (NIS) on health for years. We maintain contacts with researchers and authorities. We regularly see people in our practices who attribute their complaints to the influence of cell phone radiation.

In 2008, the AefU launched the “Environmental Medical Advisory Network” project with the long-term goal of offering environmental medical advice as part of basic care. Under the primacy of precaution, we have been calling for lower limit values, coordinated network planning, continuous research and informing the population about the risks and the more health-friendly use of mobile communications since the beginning. We have already commented on this in the Swiss Medical Journal.

The pressure of the cellular industry

In the course of digitization and technical possibilities, the interests of the mobile phone providers have shifted to the level of services. With high-speed wireless internet, they compete with the tried and tested fixed network (fiber optics) that is currently being expanded. Today, cell phone antennas outdoors mainly supply users in buildings. You use 70 percent of the data volume for video streams. Cell phone antennas and end devices consume the lion’s share of their transmission power to penetrate walls and ceilings. This causes unnecessary radiation exposure outside and inside.

The new 5G mobile communications standard is intended to open up new markets for its providers. In order to supply even more devices indoors with internet from outside at low cost, mobile phone providers are demanding higher limit values. The capacities gained in this way would quickly be exhausted. We doctors therefore demand long-term, high-performance care, separated into indoor and outdoor areas. This creates a comprehensive fiber optic network right into the apartments, schools and workplaces. Ideally, the end devices here have a cable connection. Where required, wireless, radiation-minimized micro-networks are to be installed.

Expert reports do not give the all-clear

High-frequency radiation was classified by the WHO in 2011 as possibly carcinogenic for humans (class 2B). Case-control studies showed an increased risk of gliomas and vestibular schwannomas with intensive cell phone use. In 2014, the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) commissioned an interdisciplinary team of experts as part of a first political initiative to relax the mobile phone limit values. It should carry out an up-to-date assessment of the open questions regarding the biological effects and health effects of low-level radio frequency radiation. The report did not give the all-clear. Since then, an interdisciplinary group of experts commissioned by the federal government (BERENIS – Advisory Expert Group NIS) has been continuously reviewing and evaluating the study situation and publishing a regular newsletter [1].

Between 2014 and 2019, three animal studies that were methodologically qualified as high-quality were published. In an established mouse cancer model, cell phone radiation promotes tumor growth. In two animal studies conducted independently of one another, male rats were significantly more likely to have schwannomas on the heart and, by trend, gliomas on the brain, i.e. tumors of the same cell type as in the population studies, when they were exposed to cell phone radiation. Based on the results of these animal studies and new evidence for effects in cell studies, the advisory committee of the International Cancer Agency (IARC) recommended a re-evaluation of the cancer risk in April 2019 [2].

Report “Mobile communications and radiation” as a basis for discussion

In 2019, former Federal Councilor Doris Leuthard commissioned an interdisciplinary working group on “Mobile communications and radiation” with the task of showing options for how the mobile communications network can be expanded while safeguarding protective and useful interests, particularly with regard to the introduction of the new 5G mobile communications standard. Representatives of the FMH and the AefU also participated in the working group. It also did not give the all-clear for the effects of mobile phone radiation and supports the precautionary principle [3]. In addition to the open question about cancer risk, effects on well-being, electrosensitivity, cognition or reproduction cannot be clearly assessed. The working group cannot make a robust risk assessment for the frequency range known as “millimeter waves”, which is to be used in the medium term for 5G.

In its report published in November 2019, the working group was unable to agree on a common recommendation on how mobile networks should be designed in the future. On the other hand, she recommended the following accompanying measures: more harmonization in enforcement, more intensive research, monitoring of pollution and possible health effects, information of the population, the creation of an environmental medical advice center NIS (non-ionizing radiation) and an exchange platform.

BERENIS demands consistent application of the precautionary principle

The International Commission on Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) continues to adhere to its limit values ​​in the guidelines that were renewed in April 2020. With these limit values, it only takes into account scientifically consistently proven health effects on humans, but not indications of health damage to humans or the results of animal and cell studies.

In its newsletter (special edition) of July 2020, BERENIS commented on the guidelines of the ICNIRP. It establishes uncertainties: below the limit values ​​of the ICNIRP, mobile phone radiation clearly influences the electrical activity of the brain and shows relatively consistent effects on oxidative stress in cell and animal studies. The epidemiological state of studies on long-term effects of whole-body exposures above 1V / m is insufficient. BERENIS continues to recommend the consistent application of the precautionary principle. This does not only apply to radiation from permanently installed transmission systems (antennas), it is also recommended to minimize exposure in the case of mobile devices used close to the body.

The pulling rope over prevention continues

Contrary to the imperative wishes of the mobile network providers and many politicians, the Federal Council decided in April 2020 [4] not to increase the installation limit and to implement the accompanying measures according to the “Mobile communications and radiation” report. The Federal Environment Department DETEC was commissioned to draw up a report on how mobile networks can be designed to be sustainable. But the pulling of the rope around the limit values ​​continues. With their new platform “Chance5G”, the mobile phone operators are courting politics, business and education with their concerns. We at the AefU have recorded the precautionary-based requirements for mobile communications and 5G in a current position paper [5] and in our specialist journal OEKOSKOP 2/2020 [6].�

Health risks belong on the digital agenda

Cellular communications permeate and dominate our everyday lives. This not only increases the NIS exposure (low-frequency and high-frequency electromagnetic fields / blue light), but also leads to a massive change in lifestyle and behavior with a corresponding relevant health risk (addictive behavior, sleep disorders, depression, postural defects, myopia, developmental disorders) [7] . This particularly affects children and young people. They use these technologies frequently and for a long time in their everyday lives and they also start earlier and earlier. They are particularly sensitive to outside influences because their body and mind are still developing. For this generation in particular, it is important that the political and social discussion becomes more objective. Scientifically justifiable worries must not be dismissed as scare tactics, hostility to technology or ignorance.

The report “Mobile communications and radiation” provides a basis for the political and social debate about mobile communications in the future. It would be desirable for this discussion of digitization to take place objectively, fact-based and solution-oriented from now on, also within the framework of the proposed exchange platform. Not only the economic opportunities, but also the health risks belong on the digital agenda. Medical expertise is essential here. It would be desirable for this discussion of digitization to take place objectively, fact-based and solution-oriented from now on, also within the framework of the proposed exchange platform. Not only the economic opportunities, but also the health risks belong on the digital agenda. Medical expertise is essential here. It would be desirable for this discussion of digitization to take place objectively, fact-based and solution-oriented from now on, also within the framework of the proposed exchange platform. Not only the economic opportunities, but also the health risks belong on the digital agenda. Medical expertise is essential here.

The essentials in brief

• The development of mobile telephony worries us doctors for environmental protection (AefU).

• We demand the consistent application of the precautionary principle.

• The political and social discussion about the dangers of electromagnetic fields and blue light should become more objective.

• The scientifically justifiable worries should not be dismissed as scare tactics, hostility to technology or ignorance.

• As a particularly sensitive group, children and young people must be protected because they use the technology frequently and for a long time in everyday life and also start using it earlier and earlier.

Correspondence address

Doctors for Environmental Protection (AefU)

Working Group on Electromagnetic Fields and Health

Dr. med. Edith Steiner

Online link at https://saez.ch/article/doi/saez.2020.19274

https://ehtrust.org/switzerland-doctors-for-environmental-protection-apply-the-precautionary-principle-in-mobile-communications/ Source: Environmental Health Trust