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EU Directive On Cell Phones
And Masts Expected
The Portugal News has obtained a copy of a confidential document outlining the details of an EU investigation into the health dangers caused by radioactive electromagnetic fields (EMF’s) generated by mobile phones, telephone masts and electricity pylons. It will be of special interest to the many readers who during the past few months have contacted our offices to complain about masts and pylons that have been built close to their homes and schools.
The document coincides with a decision by the world’s largest insurance body, Lloyds of London, to refuse insurance cover to cell phone and power generating companies against damage to workers and consumers’ health. It also comes at a time when the Dutch Parliament has called for an urgent investigation into the health dangers posed by EMF emissions.
A meeting of the European Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (ESHCAC) took place on March 6th. The ESHCAC has appointed a working party to look into the findings of a meeting of radiation experts held in Luxembourg last September. The Danish and Greek governments have called for these findings to be included in an EU Directive concerning safety limits on EMF emissions.
As far back as 1992 concerns were growing regarding radiation emissions in the workplace and residential areas. It was at this time that the Commissioners requested that the Council of Ministers issue a directive on the minimum requirements for workers who are being exposed to noise, vibration and EMF’s. The council subsequently issued a directive on noise and vibration but chose to deal with radiation as a separate issue.
It is anticipated that the question of EMF’s will be included in the forthcoming meeting of EU ministers scheduled for next June. But in a confidential communiqué, a copy of which has been obtained by The Portugal News, Luis Amorim, Press Officer for the Council of the European Union, has informed a London based freelance journalist, that any firm decision to set legally binding EMF emission limits will not come into force until mid 2004.
The present recommended international safety limits of EMF emissions are considered by many experts as being far too high. Research by American and Swedish scientists has shown that these limits are forty times higher than is otherwise safe. A major concern for campaigners against radiation pollution is that the EMF levels set by the EU Directive will fall in line with the existing unsafe international safety limits. This would do no more than protect power suppliers and cell phone companies from prosecution.
But Les Wilson, Managing Director of the radiation shielding company Microshield Industries, told The Portugal News that the EU initiative is a step in the right direction. According to Mr. Wilson once the EU Directive becomes law it would then be up to pressure groups and scientists to continue to lobby the EU Commissioners to reduce these limits to levels that have already been scientifically proved to be safe.
He recommended that EU member states follow the example of Spain, where the judiciary has ruled that exposure to EMF emissions is an infringement of an individual’s human rights. The burden of proof has been firmly placed on cell phone and power suppliers to prove that radiation levels produced by telephone masts and electricity pylons are not a health hazard. The ruling has already led to hundreds of masts and pylons being removed from residential areas.
But until this happens Wilson said he would continue in his campaign to have masts and pylons removed from residential areas as well as hospitals and schools.