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ES recognized legally as a 'functional impairment' and 'disability'
Legal framework (United Nations):
International Recognition of ES:
Nordic Council of Ministers: "The Nordic Adaptation of Classification of Occupationally Related Disorders (Diseases and Symptoms) to ICD-10" (2000)
- R68.8 Other specified general symptoms and signs
(suggested/recommended for multisymptomatic “idiopathic/environmental intolerance” (IEI),
including “multiple chemical sensitivity” (MCS);
“electromagnetic intolerance” (“el-allergy”) etc.
if the patient has not one major symptom which should preferably be coded)
- “Electromagnetic intolerance” “El-allergy”.
Usually general symptoms (tiredness, nausea, memory- and concentration difficulties etc.)
related to use of TV/PC/data-screens, electrical transformers or fluorescent lamps.
Symptoms disappear in “non-electrical environments”.
(Appendix IV: page 50)
Legal and regulatory measures:
Legal awards, cases, laws and recognition of/for ES and EHS: examples:
- Australia; Dr McDonald and Comcare, AATA 105 (February 28th 2013; scientist won 75% of salary when he was unable to work because his employer failed to protect him from radiation although he had been diagnosed with EHS)
- Australia:“Parent’s success in stopping WiFI installation at Australian school” (EMFacts, November 5 2015, about a school which installed wired internet access to provide equal opportunity to a child disabled by electrosensitivity).
- Canada: "The Medical Perspective on Environmental Sensitivities" (Margaret Sears, Canadian Human Rights Commission, 2007, recognising MCS and ES)
- Canada: "Électrohypersensibilité à l’école : une mère devant les tribunaux” (André Fauteux, La Maison du 21 Siècle, September 10 2015, on a Montreal lawyer whose children suffer EHS symptoms from WiFi in school, who is suing la Direction de la santé publique (DSP) and the Quebec government for refusing to give her and her three children reasonable accommodations due to EHS; she filed her complaint with the Quebec Commission on Human Rights and Youth Rights on August 28 2015 and has also instituted proceedings in the Superior Court, on the grounds that "The DSP violates Canadian law on human rights".)
- France: ES recognised as a disability with financial assistance for shielding and measuring equipment awarded by the MDPH of Essone for a technician in a chemical laboratory who had been on sick leave since 2011 (2014)
- France: “French woman wins disability grant for 'gadget allergy'” (AFP, Expatica, August 26 2015: the applicant, Marine Richard, 39, a former radio documentary producer, hailed the ruling as a "breakthrough" for people afflicted by Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS). Richard lives in the mountains of southwest France, in a renovated barn without electricity, and drinking water from the well. A court in Toulouse decided she can claim a disability allowance of about 800 euros ($912) per month for 3 years. Her lawyer Alice Terrasse said the ruling could set a legal precedent for "thousands of people". BBC News: "Gadget 'allergy': French woman wins disability grant" (August 27 2015)
- France: “Sobriété de l’éxposition aux champs électromagnétiques, information et concertation lors de l’implantation d’installations radioélectriques” (pdf; Number 2065, Assemblée Nationale, January 29 2015: a law banning WiFi in nurseries and restricting it in some other schools, and requiring a report on EHS within a year)
- France: French High Court bans wireless smart meter for EHS: The Judge of the Appeals of the High Court of First Instance of Grenoble, in a decision of September 20 2017, forbid ENEDIS SA to install a "Linky" wireless smart meter in the home of a couple owners who refused. Mr and Mrs F., domiciled in MEYLAN (Isère), had informed ENEDIS that they refused the installation of a wireless electric meter at their home, especially given the fact that their son was Electro-Hyper-Sensitive (EHS) and that the Linky meter would cause a disturbance to the health of their son. (Next-up News, September 23 2017)
- South Africa: "First Officially Recognized Case of the Functional Impairment EHS" (Lauraine Vivian & Olle Johansson, Comment, BMJ Open, 2013)
- Spain: Teacher awared 100% of salary (The Spanish Labour Court of Madrid recognised the permanent incapacity of a college professor who suffered from CFS and environmental EHS and awarded 100% of the base salary, 2011).
- Spain: FM, MCS and ES recognised as permanent disability in Spain: At Social Court, Number 4, in Castellón, for the first time in Spain, permanent disability has been recognized as a great disability in a patient afflicted with fibromyalgia (FM), multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) and electrosensitivity (ES). Ruben had to sell his house and move home to a place in the mountains, only accompanied by Rosalina, his wife, who assists him and who can now also benefit from a help. ("Es el fin a cuatro años de calvario, enfermo y aislado en Betxí" El Periódico Mediterráneo, March 1 2017)
- Spain: Support plan for people with EHS (July 1 2016, Tarragona Municipality Government: for people with Central Sensitivity Syndromes (CSS) which includes ES and EHS, especially: "Housing protocol for people with CSS, especially those who have MCS and/or EHS, those threatened by eviction or those who are forced to leave their home. This protocol has to include a series of safe social housing (green/white spaces: free of xenobiotics and electromagnetic waves). Create green/white spaces in all municipal buildings (free of xenobiotics and electromagnetic waves). )
- Spain:"A telecoms engineer with electrosensitivity is awarded disability benefits because of his inability to work in WiFi areas" (Ana Macpherson, Lavanguardia, August 2 2016, where the High Court in Madrid awarded disability benefit to Ricardo de Francesco, a 47-year-old telecoms engineer with Ericsson, who suffers tinnitus, headaches and sleeplessness from cellphones. This overturns refusal of the National Institution of Social Security (INSS) which in 2014 denied disability benefits on the grounds that there was then insufficient medical evidence.)
Patricia Esteban: "Spain: High Court of Madrid Ruling Recognizes "Electrosensitivity" as Grounds for Total Permanent Disability" (noticias.juridicas.com, August 3 2016)
- Sweden: Specific recognition of EHS as a functional impairment (Olle Johansson)
- Taiwan: "Lawsuit Against Spread of Illegal Installation of Mobile Phone Base Stations" (2011: the plaintiff suffered a 3-year exposure, close to the EM radiation source, which might cause mental illness, and carcinogenic body diseases, especially for those who are new-born infants and the elderly staying home for nearly 24 hours a day, and causing the plaintiff's mental discomfort and therefore a compensation of $100 thousands NT per person was to be paid by defendants, according to the Paragraph 1 of Article 184 of the Civil Code, the provisions of Article 195)
- Taiwan:"Does YOUR toddler play on an iPad? Taiwan makes it ILLEGAL for parents to let children under two use electronic gadgets... and under-18s must limit use to 'reasonable' lengths" (Daily Mail, January 28 2015)
- UK: Employment and Support Allowance awarded (Documnent ref. no.: 171) (Under the Social Entitlement Chamber, ESA Regulation 29, Exceptional Circumstances, 2b: "the claimant suffers from some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement"; the Judge stated: "Were it not for the EMR the appellant would lead a normal life with little or no functional impairment ... Considerations included the fact that the appellant would be unable to work in any 'normal' working environment indoors or outdoors - anywhere there was WiFi, mobile phones or mobile phone masts ... Taken together the prospects of the appellant being able to 'work' ... were effectively nil." 2012)
- US American Disability Access Board: MCS and EHS (General Issues: "The Board recognizes that multiple chemical sensitivities and electromagnetic sensitivities may be considered disabilities under the ADA if they so severely impair the neurological, respiratory or other functions of an individual that it substantially limits one or more of the individual's major life activities. The Board plans to closely examine the needs of this population, and undertake activities that address accessibility issues for these individuals. The Board plans to develop technical assistance materials on best practices for accommodating individuals with multiple chemical sensitivities and electromagnetic sensitivities.")
- US American Disability Access Board:Report (Background: Final Rule Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities; Recreation Facilities, 2000, page 11: Electromagnetic Fields: "For people who are electromagnetically sensitive, the presence of cell phones and towers, portable telephones, computers, fluorescent lighting, unshielded transformers and wiring, battery re-chargers, wireless devices, security and scanning equipment, microwave ovens, electric ranges and numerous other electrical appliances can make a building inaccessible. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) notes that scientific studies have raised questions about the possible health effects of EMF’s. NIOSH recommends the following measures for those wanting to reduce EMF exposure – informing workers and employers about possible hazards of magnetic fields, increasing workers’ distance from EMF sources, using low-EMF designs wherever possible (e.g., for layout of office power supplies), and reducing EMF exposure times.")
- USA: Antoinette Yannon wins claim for late husband Samuel Yannon (1982, following illness and later death because of exposure to microwave transmitters)
- USA: "Causal. Legally Recognized Proof of the Damage Potential of Technical Highfrequency Fields - a Case Report" (Eger H,Umwelt-medizin-gesellschaft, 2014, 27(3): 176-181: When a US-American patient moved to Bavaria in 2006 and he was sensitised by nocturnal High Frequency radiation, he had to move away in 2007, but although he improved he was unable to work subsequently because of the ever higher environmental exposures. The court ackowledged his ES in 2012 and he was granted apension back-dated to 2008.)
- USA:"Court rules for Berkeley in cellphone right to know case" (Berkeleyside, September 22 2015: Federal district judge Edward Chen ruled in favor of the City of Berkeley's cellphone 'right to know' ordinance against a First Amendment rights challenge by the CTIA; Preliminary Judgement)
- USA: Indoor Environmental Quality (National Institute of Building Sciences, with Access Board, 2005, p.47f)
- USA: "Health Hazard Evaluation Report: Nonionizing Radiation Exposure to Technicians at a Satellite Communications Facility" (HETA 2007-0085-3062, National Institute for Occupational Health & Safety (NIOSH), 2008, p.10)
- USA: “Hypersensitivity to WiFi … could it be a disability?” (Alexis Kramer, Bloomberg BNA Legal, September 10 2015)
- USA: “Judge rules electric co-op violated discrimination laws” (Plumas County News, May 4th 2015, where a utility was required to restore an analog meter for an EHS customer and not to discriminate against the EHS customer in setting higher charges for installation or reading the meter)
- USA: LAUSD accommodates ES teacher (Los Angeles Unified School Board provides WiFi-free environment without radiation for Mrs Anura Lawson, a teacher made electrically sensitive by the school WiFi installation earlier in the year, 2014)
Susan Foster: "Americans with Disabilities Act Title II Evaluation of Electromagnetic Sensitivities (EHS) & Accommodations" (letter to Superintendent Michelle King, Los Angeles Unified School District, July 5 2017)
- USA: "Legal Implications of the Soviet Microwave Bombardment of the U.S. Embassy" (Larry B. Guthrie, Boston College International and Comparative Law Review, 1:1, 1977)
- USA: "Massachusetts: Wi-Fi in School : ADA Federal Complaint Against School After Child Fell Sick From Wireless Installation" (Towards Better Health, August 14 2015); Complaint (August 12 2015); Scott O'Connell: "Family sues Fay School in Southboro, claims Wi-Fi made son ill" (Worcester Telegram & Gazette, August 24 2015) WCVB: "Preliminary agreement reached in Southborough Wi-Fi lawsuit" (August 27 2015); Scott O'Connell: “Wi-Fi lawsuit against Southboro's Fay School is headed to trial” (Telegram, January 18 2016); Q&A interview with mother; Beth: “Fay accused of retaliating against family suing school” (My Southborough, March 11 2016).
- USA: California state legislature recognizes people with electromagnetic sensitivities as disabled:
"Since May 2017, the California Legislature has provided ADA accommodation for people disabled by electromagnetic sensitivities (EMS). This is the first California legislative session to acknowledge EMS and to arrange accommodation and access for the EMF-disabled so that they can participate at hearings.
On Wednesday, July 12 2017, California Assembly leaders provided the most extensive accommodation to date at a hearing on Senate Bill 649 (Hueso). Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee Chairman Miguel Santiago said, “The Assembly’s Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator has received multiple requests for accommodation from individuals wishing to participate in this hearing,” and ”in an attempt to accommodate as many individuals as possible,” the committee a) made a special order of business with a “time certain” for the SB 649 hearing, so those with EMS could arrive for the hearing and then leave, reducing their EMF exposure b) provided remote telephone access for those too disabled by the indoor air quality to testify in person, and c) made a request to the audience to turn off the wireless on their cell phones or put them in airplane mode “as a courtesy to the electromagnetically sensitive.”
(Smart Meter Harm, September 15, 2017)
Evidence for, and recognition of, ES and EHS as a 'functional impairment' and 'disability'
- Lindsey D'Agnolo: "Are “Wi-Fi Allergies” an Impairment Covered by the ADA?" (The National Law Review, June 21 2017)
- Olle Johansson: "Electrohypersensitivity: state-of-the-art of a functional impairment" (2006, Electromagn Biol Med., 25(4):245-58.)
- Seletun International Panel: The Seletun Scientific Statement (Key point 10: Functional Impairment Designation for Persons with Electrohypersensitivity: "The Panel strongly recommends that persons with electrohypersensitivity symptoms (EHS) be classified as functionally impaired rather than with ‘idiopathic environmental disease‘ or similar indistinct categories." 2010)
- Yael Stein: "Environmental Refugees: Electrohypersensitive individuals (EHS) in the digital world – a disabled population, deprived of home, work and basic rights" (UNESCO Conference, 2015)
Governmental and advisory groups on ES equality rights
- Council of Europe: Resolution 1815 (Parliamentary Assembly, 2011)
"Pay particular attention to 'electrosensitive' people who suffer from a syndrome of intolerance to electromagnetic fields and introduce special measures to protect them, including the creation of wave-free areas not covered by the wireless network."
- European Union: Parliamentary Resolution (2008/2211(INI)) (2009)
"Calls on Member States to follow the example of Sweden and to recognise persons that suffer from electrohypersensitivity as being disabled so as to grant them adequate protections as well as equal opportunities."
- European Union: PECCEM: (October 25 2016):
"Open letter to the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC): to repair the damage caused by the conflicts of interest and procedural irregularities in its midst arising from the adoption of the counter-opinion on electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS)"
- International Justice Resource Centre: Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Accessibility:
"As long as goods, products and services are open or provided to the public, they must be accessible to all, regardless of whether they are owned and/or provided by a public authority or a private enterprise.”
"The strict application of universal design to all new goods, products, facilities, technologies and services should ensure full, equal and unrestricted access for all potential consumers, including persons with disabilities, in a way that takes full account of their inherent dignity and diversity."
Other groups on ES equality rights and non-thermal effects
- American Academy of Environmental Medicine: "Recommendations Regarding Electromagnetic and Radiofrequency Exposure" (2012):
"Physicians of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine recognize that patients are being adversely impacted by electromagnetic frequency (EMF) and radiofrequency (RF)fields and are becoming more electromagnetically sensitive."
- BioInitiative Report: "Sensitive Populations Must Be Protected" (2012):
"Safety standards for sensitive populations will more likely need to be set at lower than for healthy adult populations. Sensitive populations include the developing fetus, the infant, children, the elderly, those with pre-existing chronic diseases, and those with developed electrical sensitivity (EHS)."
- Brussels Declaration (2015):
"International Scientific Brussels Declaration, on Electro-hypersensitivity and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, After the fifth Appeal of Paris Congress held on May 18, 2015 at the Royal Academy of Medicine, Brussels, Belgium"
"EHS and MCS should, therefore, be fully recognized by international and national institutions with responsibility for human health."
- Freiburger Appeal by over 1,000 physicians: "International Appeal 2012" (2002, 2012):
"Identify and clearly mark protected zones for electrohypersensitive people; establish public areas without wireless access or coverage, especially on public transport, similar to smoke-free areas for nonsmokers."
- International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety (ICEMS): "Benevento Resolution" (2006):
Strategy required, no. 6.7:
"Designate wireless-free zones in citiies, in public buildings (schools, hospitals, residential areas) and, on public transit, to permit access by persons who are hypersensitive to EMF."
- International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP): Documents recognizing ES symptoms and the need for non-thermal limits (2002, 2010; 2014):
People Being Protected:
"Different groups in a population may have differences in their ability to tolerate a particular NIR exposure. For example, children, the elderly, and some chronically ill people might have a lower tolerance for one or more forms of NIR exposure than the rest of the population. Under such circumstances, it may be useful or necessary to develop separate guideline levels for different groups within the general population, but it may be more effective to adjust the guidelines for the general population to include such groups.Some guidelines may still not provide adequate protection for certain sensitive individuals nor for normal individuals exposed concomitantly to other agents, which may exacerbate the effect of the NIR exposure."
“a number of well established acute effects of exposure of low-frequency EMFs on the nervous system” “brain functions such as visual processing and motor co-ordination can be transiently affected by induced electric fields” “transient effects such as phosphenes and possible minor changes in some brain functions” “a number of well established acute effects of exposure of low-frequency EMFs on the nervous system” "brain functions such as visual processing and motor co-ordination can be transiently affected by induced electric fields” “vertigo and nausea".
- Electrosensitivity Australia: "Public submission to the ACMA Committee" (Julie McCredden, for ES.OZ, 2014):
"We ask you to advise us how you plan to incorporate ICNIRP's recommendations for the vulnerable into your legislative instruments."
"Establishment of White Zones."
- Swiss Physicians for the Environment: Letter on non-ionizing radiation to Federal Councillors (2012):
"The precautionary principle should be applied to non-ionizing radiation (NIR) strictly. We therefore call on you in your decisions for ... continuous, independent, practical and interdisciplinary research, with focus on assisting vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant women, the chronically ill and electro-sensitive patients."
- Trades Union Congress: "Occupational Cancer: A Workplace Guide" (UK, 2012, p.6);
Electromagnetic exposure is a 2B possible cancer agent: "The aim of trade unions is that there should be no workplace exposure to anything that causes cancer. Where possible this will mean removing carcinogens from the workplace completely."
Legal cases recognizing non-thermal effects
- Alaskan Supreme Court: "Award for RF Radiation Injury Below Thermal Exposure Limit" (LBA Group, 2007):
"The award was based on the psychological and cognitive effects of RF radiation and over-exposure. This decision is significant because the FCC RF limit is designed to keep people from being heated and ignores evidence of other adverse biological effects at much lower levels."
- Australia: Louise Brosnam, of New Farm, Queensland, a diagnosed EHS sufferer, has engaged barrister Ray Broomhall to lodge a Criminal Complaint based upon the Peace and Good Behaviour Act and the legal definition of "assault". The latter includes exposure to "electrical force", or even the threat to do so. The Telco has been summoned to appear in court on June 16 2016. ("New Farm Community Tower fight and Legal Action" May 2016)
- Berkeley City Council, California, USA: "Berkeley Votes to Warn Cellphone Buyers of Health Risks" (Mother Jones, May 13th 2015); "Judge lets Berkeley require cell phone warnings" (SFGate, January 28 2016)
- Canada: John D. Evans, a World War II veteran, had his malignant melanoma recognized as having been related to his Royal Canadian Air Force service as a Wireless/Radar Mechanic by the Veterans Review and Appeal Board in 1997. (Bridlewood Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) Information Service)
- Denver, Colorado, USA: "FM Radio Cancer Suit Settled" (Microwave News, May/June 1990, p.15):
KYGO, an FM radio station near Denver, Colorado, settled a lawsuit alleging radiation-induced cancer out of court for an undisclosed sum. The case alleged that RF radiation from Jefferson Pilot Broadcasting Inc. had caused Beryl Main to develop non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. An EPA survey in 1986 measured 300 microWatts per cm squared on the camp which Beryl Main owned and operated with his wife. KYGO lowered it transmitter output from 100 kW to 1 kW and agreed to limit radiation levels to 10 microWatts per cm squared; KYGO later relocated its transmitter.
- Italy: Ivrea Court: "Italian court finds link between cell phone use and tumor" (ABC News, April 20 2017):
Roberto Romeo, a Telecom Italia employee, "was awarded monthly social security payments after a court found that his brain tumor was caused by improper use of a company-issued cellphone".
"Italian court rules mobile phone use caused brain tumour" (The Guardian, April 21 2017)
Mia de Graaf: "Cell phones DO fuel tumors, Italian court rules: Man wins $7,500 a year for life after developing brain mass 'from using his company phone'" (Daily Mail, April 21 2017)
Sophie Curtis: "Brain tumour linked to excessive mobile phone use in 'landmark' court case" (Daily Mirror, April 21 2017)
A man in Italy has won a landmark court case in which he claimed excessive use of his mobile phone gave him a tumour.
Pierro Mastrosimone: "Employee compensated after Italian court recognises link between mobile phone use and brain tumor" (Giambrone Law, April 21 20170
- Italian Supreme Court: "Italian Supreme Court rules mobile phones can cause brain tumours" (In House Lawyer, 2012):
"The Italian Supreme Court also hit the news after ruling in an employment case that mobile phones can cause brain tumours in heavy users."
- Italian Court: "Vatican Radio officials convicted in 'electro-smog' case" (ABC News, 2005; Report 2010; Supreme Court Fine, 2011):
"The case sprang from a medical report released in 2001 by a public health agency that showed unusually high numbers of people living near a forest of Vatican Radio antennas to the north of Rome who contracted or died from leukaemia."
- USA: "Court victory is a first for cell-phone programmers" (Sun Sentinel, Florida, October 2 2005, about Sharesa Price who was awarded $30,000 towards medical expenses for a brain tumour caused by radio frequency radiation).
- USA: “Nurse with rare brain disorder wins $4M suit against hospital” (Selim Algar, New York Post, November 23 2014, about Rebecca Serdans, a Manhattan nurse, who had a deep brain stimulator implanted in 2004 to ease her dystonia, a neurological condition that impairs mobility. She could work at first but in 2007, she was switched to another unit, where her brain implant failed because of EM interference, leaving her in pain after a single shift and forcing her to get the device reprogrammed. She sued the hospital in 2008 for forcing her to work in units that exacerbated her painful condition and won $4 million against New York Presbyterian Hospital in 2014).
- USA: "Berkeley cell phone warning law upheld by federal appeals court" (SF Gate, April 21 2017)
"Berkeley can require retailers to warn their cell phone customers about the possible radiation effects of carrying switched-on phones close to their bodies, a federal appeals court ruled Friday. The cell phone industry sued to block enforcement of the ordinance, calling it an “inflammatory” message that violated retailers’ freedom of speech. But the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, in a 2-1 ruling, said the warning was factually accurate, based on findings by the Federal Communications Commission about safe radiation levels, and was in the public interest. Both the FCC and the city were entitled to conclude that “this compelled disclosure is reasonably related to protection of the health and safety of consumers,” Judge William Fletcher said in the majority opinion."
No. 16-15141 D.C. No. 3:15-cv-02529-EMC OPINION
- USA: Judge F H Weisberg (Superior Court District of Columbia allows evidence on cellphone cases, August 8th 2014).
"WSJ Reports Murray Cellphone Cancer Case May Cost Wireless Industry Over 1.9 Billion Dollars" (November 2015):
"It is fair to say that we are no longer talking about mere precaution of uncertain risk, but about prevention of highly probable and known risks. Based on the accumulating evidence — the Benevento Statement, BioInitative Report, London Report — all show proof the health effects pertain to ROS- Reactive Oxygen Species, cellular changes, effects on DNA,fertility, and neurobehavioral effects– e.g. deficits in memory, mood changes, fatigue, headache, as well as electro hypersensitivity and cancer. It is now fairly certain that there will be widespread adverse public health impacts. What remains uncertain is how many will be affected…"
District of Columbia, Court of Appeals: (Motorola, Inc v Murray , 2016 BL 348817, D.C. en banc, No 14-CV-1350, October 20 2016):
"C. Rule 702 , Amended:
Although the Daubert trilogy represented the Supreme Court's construction of Rule 702 , that rule and its commentary were in turn amended (in 2000) to reflect the Supreme Court's guidance.
Rule 702 (as amended stylistically in 2011) now provides:
A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if:
(a) the expert's scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue;
(b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;
(c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and
(d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case."
- Bruce Kaufman: "Mobile Phone Makers Score Big Win in Radiation Suit" (Bloomberg BNA, October 21 2016)
- Gordon Noble: "Wall Street’s Cell Phone Litigation Problem" (gordonoble.com, November 14 2014)
Financial compensation for stray voltage
Environmental evidence on non-thermal effects
Smart Meter lawsuits over health damage
- Canada: “Lawsuit Against BC Hydro Proceeding December 7 to 11 2015”, Citizens for Safe Technology, Stop Smart Meters, November 2015: the British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver, from 7 December 2015: assessment of BC Hydro's disregard of Charter Rights in relation to the deployment of radiation from smart meters, where there exists a reasonable basis for concern about health risk so as to give rise to a right of autonomy and free choice as to whether a microwave radiation emitting meter is operational from one’s own dwelling).
- USA Maine Supreme Court: “Smart meter opponents argue to overturn Maine PUC decision” (Walter Wuthmann, The Forecaster, November 4 2015: the 2012 study on health damage from 'smart' meters by the Maine Public Utility Commission lasting over 2 years has been questioned; the length of the study appears to preempt the outdated 1996 FCC heating limits)
WiFi lawsuits and legal challenges over health damage
The legality of irradiating people with or without their informed consent with a human carcinogen, equality issues and summaries of legal cases:
Enforced environmental radiation violates the Nuremberg Code
Where governments allow civilian populations to be irradiated with environmental electromagnetic exposures which are classified internationally as 2B human cancer agents and are known neurotoxins, they are acting illegally and in contravention of the international Nuremberg Code of 1947. Such irradiation is known to be potentially harmful yet each member of the general population has not been consulted or given their individual consent to such experiments on their human health. In the case of children it is unlikely that any government could sanction such radiation experiments.
- "Enforced introduction of wireless smart meters is a clear contravention of the Nuremberg Code which forbids the performance of experiments on human beings without their consent. Insofar as the long-term safety of continual irradiation from these devices has never been tested and many people (including many eminent scientists) believe that it is potentially harmful, the whole nation is being made a part of an uncontrolled experiment on their electromagnetic safety."
(Dr Andrew Goldsworthy: Letter, November 14 2010)
Informed consent is essential for scientific experiments
Informed consent is required for experiments on humans involving non-ionizing and ionizing radiation. It appears that some countries like the US try to evade this requirement by claiming that such experiments, even where they cover large populations, come under 'classified research'. The irradiation of the population by cellphone towers without prior testing, where any adverse health effects will be discovered as a result of this irradiation, is often regarded as an experiment on the population without informed consent.
"In New York, experimentation is defined in terms of physical intervention upon a subject that is not required for the direct benefit of the subject. The law provides 'no human research may be conducted in this state in the absence of voluntary informed consent subscribed to in writing by the human subject'."
Prof. Andrew Marino (ed.): "Modern Bioelectricity" (Marcel Dekker Inc., CRC Press, 1988), p.1080.
"A better approach would be to require that the beam of greatest RF intensity from a macrocell base station sited within the grounds of a school should not be permitted to fall on any part of the school grounds or buildings without agreement from the school and parents."
UK's Stewart Report (2000), 6.65.
There have been well known cases of experiments without informed consent, but few if any have resulted in criminal legal actions.
- After Howard Rosenberg in 1981 revealed in Mother Jones concerning radiation studies at the Oak Ridge Institute for Nuclear Studies, US Rep. Al Gore chaired a sub-committee which found that the radiation experiments were "satisfactory, but not perfect" in September 1981.
- Congressman Ed Markey's report in November 1986, "American Nuclear Guinea Pigs: Three Decades of Radiation Experiments on U.S. Citizens" reported that there were 31 human radiation experiments involving nearly 700 people.
- "Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects" of 1991.
- After outrage at further reports of human radiation experiments without informed consent, President Bill Clinton in 1994 established the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments (ACHRE) which reported in 1995. Clinton issued an apology in October 1995, the same day as the O.J. Simpson jury returned its verdict.
- President Obama’s Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (2009-2016) apparently also failed to resolve this problem.
- In 2017 small cell towers radiation devices were proposed for street-side installation without written informed consent by residents.
Sources and information:
Regulations, guidelines and bills limiting WiFi, cellphone, tower and other EM exposures:
- Argentina:"The minimum prevention and control of electromagnetic pollution" bill in the Chamber of Deputies (March 2016), requiring wired internet connection in schools and hospitals, a limit of 1000 uW/m2 for digital pollution, a minimum offset of 100m from housing, schools, hospitals, sports faciliies, cultural places and green spaces for radiation transmitters, with an Environmental Impact Assessment and public meeting before applying for a permit, warnings and emission levels on radiation devices, an on-line Registry of radiation emission locations, and a Advisory Council to enforce the legislation.
- Canada: House of Commons: Report of the Standing Committee on Health (HESA 2015): "Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Radiation and the Health of Canadians" (42 pages):
That Statistics Canada consider including questions related to electromagnetic hypersensitivity in the Canadian Community Health Survey.
That the Government of Canada, through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, consider funding research into electromagnetic hypersensitivity testing, diagnosis and treatment, and its possible impacts on health in the workplace.
That the Canadian Medical Association, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the World Health Organization consider updating their guidelines and continuing education materials regarding the diagnosis and treatment of electromagnetic hypersensitivity to ensure they are based on the latest scientific evidence and reflect the symptoms of affected Canadians.
That the Government of Canada continue to provide reasonable accommodations for environmental sensitivities, including electromagnetic hypersensitivity, as required under the Canadian Human Rights Act.
That Health Canada ensure the openness and transparency of its processes for the review of Safety Code 6, so that all Canadians have an opportunity to be informed about the evidence considered or excluded in such reviews, that outside experts are provided full information when doing independent reviews, and that the scientific rationale for any change is clearly communicated.
That the Government of Canada establish a system for Canadians to report potential adverse reactions to radiofrequency fields.
- European Council
"Report warning of the harmful effects of WiFi and cell phones to children and babies, and proposes to member states to ban their use in schools." (list, 2013).
European Court of Justice:
Need for Password Protection for open WiFi hubs:
Alan Toner: "European Court Allows Copyright Owners to Demand Open Wifi Networks be Password Protected" (Electronic Frontier Foundation, September 26 2016)
Protection for children: WiFi banned in nurseries, limited in primary schools (2015).
Transposition of European Commission EMF Directive: "Décret n° 2016-1074 du 3 août 2016 relatif à la protection des travailleurs contre les risques dus aux champs électromagnétiques" (Decree No. 2016-1074 of August 3, 2016 on the protection of workers against the risks arising from electromagnetic fields; 2016):
- "Art. R. 4453-8.-In conducting the risk assessment, the employer shall take into consideration:
6. any direct biophysical effects on the worker or any indirect effects that may result from exposure to electromagnetic fields;
7. any impact on the health and safety of workers under 18 years and workers at particular risk, including pregnant women and workers equipped with implanted medical devices or not, active or passive;"Art. R. For 4453-15.-workers at particular risk referred to - "in Article 7 of R. 4453-8, the employer shall adapt, in liaison with the occupational physician, preventive measures provided for in this section."
Protection for Workers:
Yann Galli: “Les entreprises vont devoir protéger les salariés des ondes électromagnétiques” (France Inter, January 1 2017),
(trans. Towards Better Health: “Businesses are going to protect workers from electromagnetic waves” January 8 2017)
- Germany, Switzerland: Bavaria 2007; Hesse 2010; Frankfurt 2006; Thurgau 2008:
- Bavarian Parliament (June 21 2007): "If a wireless network is installed, the access points should only be turned on during active use ... prefer the use of wired network solutions whenever possible."
- Parliament of Hesse (April 9 2010): BfS (Rederal Office for Radiation Protection) 2005 recommends "wireless access points shall not be placed in areas where people spend a considerable amount of time such as at a workplace, i.e. in our case the rooms of a school."
- School Department of the City of Frankfurt (FR08/06/06): "as long as the safety of wireless communication is not clarified ... WLAN networks must not be used at Frankfurt schools."
- Governing Council of Thurgau Canton (August 4 2008): "a conventional wired network should be given preference over a wireless network."
- Haifa, Israel's third largest city, disconnects WiFi: Local News (April 18 2016) (trans.; trans.)
- Ministry of Education (August 27 2013): "stop the installation of wireless networks in classrooms prior to the first grade and limit the use of WiFi between first and third grades; teachers are required to turn off mobile phones and WiFi routers when they are not being used." (list)
- "Italian town shuts down Wi-Fi over health fears" (The Local, January 8 2016)
- "Turin could slash Wi-Fi over 'radiation' concerns" (The Local, July 25 2016)
- Russia (RNCNIRP) (2011) "Usage of a mobile phone by children and adolescents under 18 years old is not recommended by the Sanitary Rule SanPiN 2.1.8/18.104.22.1680-03, and mobile phone use requires implementation of precautionary measures in order to prevent health risks. Mobile phone use by pregnant women is not recommended in order to prevent risk for a fetus." (The Sanitary Rule “Hygienic Requirements for Placement and Operation of Onshore Mobile Radio Devices” (SanPiN 2.1.8/22.214.171.1240-03, p.6.9). Moscow, Federal Center for State Sanitary and Epidemiological Supervision of the Ministry for Health Protection of the Russian Federation, 2003. (RNCNIRP, 2011: "Electromagnetic Fields from Mobile Phones: Health Effect on Children and Teenagers")
- The Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation (RNCIRP) (2012): "officially recommended that Wi-Fi not be used in schools." (list)
- Switzerland: Canton of Geneva:
- "General recommendations:
For the well-being and health of children and young people, exposure time to screens must be limited according to age.
Before age 3: No TV or DVDs.
Between ages 3 and 6: Limiting the exposure time to screens to one hour a day is desirable.
From age 6: From this age, the total exposure time to screens should be limited to one hour a day.
From age 9: The exposure time should also be limited to two hours a day for all screens."
Office de l'enfance et de la jeunesse: Service de santé de l'enfance et de la jeunesse: "Usages du numérique: risques pour la santé" (Republique et Canton de Geneve: Département de l'instruction publique, de la culture et du sport, September 5 2017)
English Translation: "Uses of Digital Technology: Health Risks" (Translation by the Editor of "Towards Better Health", September 7 2017)
- Taiwan:ban on use by under 2s; teenage use 'reasonable', 2015.
- United Kingdom:
- "the UK Chief Medical Officers advise that children and young people under 16 should be encouraged to use mobile phones for essential purposes only, and to keep calls short." (NHS: "Mobile phones and base stations: Health advice on using mobile phones", 2011)
- "Excessive use of mobile phones by children should be discouraged," (PHE: "HPA response to the 2012 AGNIR report on the health effects from radiofrequency electromagnetic fields", 2012)
- "SI 2016/588 Health and Safety - The Control of Electromagnetic Fields at Work Regulations: 2016" (July 1 2016, transposing European DIrective 2013/35/EU: Electromagnetic Fields):
“direct biophysical effect” means an effect on human body tissue caused by its presence in an electromagnetic field;
“employee at particular risk” means—
(a) an employee who has declared to his or her employer a condition which may lead to a higher susceptibility to the potential effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields;
“health effect” means a direct biophysical effect which is potentially harmful to human health;
“indirect effect” means an effect, caused by the presence of an object or a substance in an electromagnetic field, which may present a safety or health hazard;
“sensory effect” means a direct biophysical effect involving a transient disturbance in sensory perception or a minor and temporary change in brain function.
... (2) The risk assessment must include consideration of, where relevant—
... (c) direct biophysical effects;
... (g) multiple sources of exposure;
(h) simultaneous exposure to multiple frequency fields;
(i) indirect effects;
(j) any effects on employees at particular risk;
... 2. The ALs and ELVs are set out in tables and grouped according to their potential effects, being—
(a) thermal effects, related to the heating of tissue due to its absorption of electromagnetic fields; and
(b) non-thermal effects, related to the stimulation of nerves or sensory organs due to the presence of electromagnetic fields.
... PART 2: Direct biophysical effects of exposure: Action levels – non-thermal effects.
... 2. The ELVs may be exceeded during an employee’s shift where the employer ensures that—
... (c) adequate information is provided to the employee on the possibility of sensory effects related to time-varying magnetic fields, including retinal phosphenes; and
(d) where any of those sensory effects are reported to the employer, the risk assessment is updated where necessary.
... PART 3: Indirect effects of exposure: Action levels – non-thermal effects.
- SI 2016/588 EM Explanatory Memorandum - Health and Safety - The Control of Electromagnetic Fields at Work Regulations 2016
- "Electromagnetic fields at work: A guide to the Control of Electromagnetic Fields at Work Regulations 2016" (HSE, 2016)
"What are the effects of exposure? (11) EMFs at different frequencies affect the human body in different ways, causing
sensory and health effects; see Table 1."
0–1 Hz: "Sensory effects: Nausea, vertigo, metallic taste in the mouth, flickering sensations (magnetophosphenes) in peripheral vision"
1 Hz–10 MHz: "Sensory effects: Nausea, vertigo, metallic taste in the mouth, flickering sensations (magnetophosphenes)
Health effects: Nerve stimulation, effects on the central and peripheral nervous system of the body: tingling, muscle contraction, heart arrhythmia."
100 kHz–10 MHz: "The health effects of both high and low frequencies can be experienced as detailed above and below."
100 kHz–300 GHz: "Sensory effects: Auditory effects such as perception of clicks or buzzing caused by pulsed radar systems.
Table 7 Sources of EMF which may pose a risk to workers with active implanted and active body-worn medical devices (and exceed the AL in the schedule to the CEMFAW Regulations, Table AL6)
Wireless communications: Wireless communications: devices (eg Wi-Fi or Bluetooth), including access points for WLAN
Use of cordless phones, DECT base stations and fax machines
Use of mobile phones
Office: Audio-visual equipment containing radio-frequency transmitters
Infrastructure (buildings and grounds): Use of electric garden appliances
Security: Article surveillance equipment and radio-frequency identification
Tape or hard drive erasers
Electrical supply: Work on generators or emergency generators and where workers need to be in
close proximity to cables carrying high currents
Inverters, including photovoltaic systems
Light industry: ...
Medical: MRI equipment
Construction: Construction equipment, eg working close to concrete mixers, cranes etc
Transport: Motor vehicles and plant – working close to starter, alternator and ignition
systems in motor vehicles and workplaces
Maintenance of inverters used on mainline trains
Miscellaneous: Battery chargers, inductive or proximity-coupling,
Equipment generating static magnetic fields greater than 0.5 mT, eg by magnetic
chucks, tables and conveyors, lifting magnets, magnetic brackets, nameplates,
Headphones producing strong magnetic fields
Professional inductive cooking equipment
Two-way radios, eg walkie-talkies, vehicle radios
Military activities: Maintenance of radar or high-powered communications systems
Is a risk assessment needed?
46. Where your exposure assessment demonstrates that:
... and/or you have employees at particular risk;
you must carry out an assessment of any risks to your employees arising from EMF exposure.
Employees at particular risk:
49. You must give special consideration to the safety of employees at particular risk (even if you are in compliance with the exposure limits).
50. An employee at particular risk is:
an employee who has declared to their employer a condition which may lead to a higher susceptibility to the potential effects of exposure to EMFs. This includes expectant mothers who have informed you of their condition and workers who have declared the use of active implanted medical devices (AIMDs), passive implanted medical devices (PIMDs) or body-worn medical devices (BWMDs);
- Consultative Document CD276 (HSE, 2015)
- "Non-binding guide to good practice for implementing Directive 2013/35/EU Electromagnetic Fields Guide for SMEs" (EU, 2015)
Job accommodations for people with electrosensitivity:
Electrosensitivity has been included under the American Disability Access Board since the 1990s (General Issues).
More recently people there has been advice given on specific accommodations for people with electrical sensitivity.
Job Accommodation Network (JAN), the US Department of Labor: the Office for Disability Employment Poiicy (ODEP):
Accommodation Ideas for Electromagnetic Sensitivity
Accommodation ideas for individuals with electromagnetic sensitivity:
- Allow communication via typewriter or handwritten notes rather than via computer or cover the computer with Plexiglas or other shielding material
- Provide headset/handset extenders or alternate headsets to lengthen the distance between devices that trigger symptoms and the employee's body
- Change the employee's shift to allow for less exposure to others' devices
- Relocate workplace away from areas where symptoms are triggered. This may include limiting certain types of devices in the vicinity of the employee's workstation
- Allow telework (Note: regarding work at home, unless the employee wants to work at home, other options should be explored first to keep the employee in the workplace)
- Allow the employee to meet with others in areas where triggers are minimized or allow remote access to meetings or activities that must take place in areas that trigger symptoms.
- Provide wired telephones and network connections
- Provide building-wide and/or workspace shielding of equipment and devices, for example add filters to fluorescent lights and tape electrical cords
Control of harmful electromagnetic devices:
The problem of electromagnetic devices harming people has been recognized. Legislation has been passed at a federal level and in some states regarding portable devices from which an electrical current, impulse, wave or beam can incapacitate temporarily or injure someone else.
The Radiation Control for Health and Safety Act of 1968
An Act to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for the protection of the public health from radiation emissions from electronic products:
- "SUBPART 3—ELECTRONIC PRODUCT RADIATION CONTROL. DECLARATION OF PURPOSE. SEC. 354.
The Congress hereby declares that the public health and safety must be protected from the dangers of electronic product radiation. Thus, it is the purpose of this subpart to provide for the establishment by the Secretary of an electronic product radiation control program which shall include the development and administration of performance standards to control the emission of electronic product radiation from electronic products and the undertaking by public and private organizations of research and investigation into the effects and control of such radiation emissions.
ELECTRONIC PRODUCT RADIATION CONTROL. PROGRAM. SEC. 356. (a)
Public Law 90-602 (1968)
- Maryland Children’s Environmental Health and Protection Advisory Council: "Wifi Radiation in Schools in Maryland, Final Report" (December 13, 2016):
"The Council recommends that the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene ask the United States Department of Health and Human Services to formally petition the FCC to revisit the exposure limit to ensure it is protective of children’s health and that it relies on current science.
Where classrooms have internet access with a wireless connection, WiFi can be turned off and wired local area network (LAN) can provide a reliable and secure form of networking for as many wireless devices as necessary without any microwave electromagnetic field exposure.
If a new classroom is to be built, or electrical work is to be carried out in an existing classroom, network cables can be added at the same time, providing wired network access with minimal extra cost and time.
Have children place devices on desks to serve as barrier between the device and children’s bodies.
Locate laptops in the classroom in a way that keeps pupil heads as far away from the laptop screens (where the antennas are) as practicable.
Consider using a switch to shut down the router when it is not in use.
Teach children to turn off WiFi when not in use.
Consider placing routers as far away from students as possible.
Sit away from WiFi routers, especially when people are using it to access the internet.
Turn off the wireless on your laptop when you are not using it.
Turn off WiFi on smartphones and tablets when not surfing the web.
Switch tablets to airplane mode to play games or watch videos stored on the device.
While this report focused on WiFi radiation in schools, there are additional concerns about mobile phones and cell phone towers."
- Massachusetts: General Laws: Part I - Administration of the Government; Title XX - Public Safety and Good Order; Chapter 140 - Licences; Section 131J - Sale or Possession of Electrical Weapons, Penalties:
"No person shall possess a portable device or weapon from which an electrical current, impulse, wave or beam may be directed, which current, impulse, wave or beam is designed to incapacitate temporarily, injure or kill, except: (1) a federal, state or municipal law enforcement officer ... or (2) a supplier of such devices or weapons designed to incapacitate temporarily ... No person shall sell or offer for sale such device or weapon, except to federal, state or municipal law enforcement agencies ... The secretary of public safety shall adopt regulations governing who may sell or offer to sell such devices or weapons in the commonwealth and governing law enforcement training on the appropriate use of portable electrical weapons."
US legislation on safety limits, including FCC and EPA
A List of Schools and Organizations That Have Taken Action Regarding Wireless Technology" (updated to 2014)
"Teacher Unions and Parent Teacher Organizations Taking Action On Wi-Fi Health Risks" (February 18 2016)
Votes to ban WiFi:
Warnings and Safety Limits on radiation devices:
Exclusion for EMF effects from Insurance:
Implications for Occupational Health:
Employer liability for cellphone use:
Public Law 90-602 of 1968 (pdf):
An Act to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for the protection of the public health from radiation emissions from electronic products.
Subpart 3 - Electronic Product Radiation Control: DECLARATION OF PURPOSE:
The Congress hereby declares that the public health and safety must be protected from the dangers of electronic product radiation.
Ecocide and the right to protect the environment
Crimes committed against the natural environment, preventing the environment from continuing in its living and existing state, are termed ecocide. This can include any destruction of the natural environment, whether by war, deliberate action or incidental effects. Man-made radiation is now seen as major factor disrupting the natural environments, not just for humans, animals, insects, plants and bacteria, but also for geo-tectonic and atmospheric effects.
- Adler JH: "Property Rights and the Tragedy of the Commons" (The Atlantic, May 22 2012)
- Bollier D, Weston BH: "The Human Right to a Clean and Healthy Environment" (2013)
- Hardin G: "The Tragedy of the Commons" (Science, 1968)
- Polly Higgins: "Ecocide, the 5th Crime Against Peace" (TEDxExeter, 2012)
- Hill BE et al.: “Human Rights and the Environment: A Synopsis and Some Predictions” (Georgetown International Environmental Law Review, 2004)
- Segal C: "The Use of Human Rights in the Fight Against Air Pollution" (2015)
- Atapattu S: "The Right to a Healthy Life or the Right to Die Polluted?: The Emergence of a Human Right to a Healthy Environment Under International Law" (Tulane.Environmental Law Journal, 2002)
- Shelton S: "Human Rights, Health and Environmental Protection: Linkages in Law and Practice" (for World Health Organization)
- United Nations: "Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment" (Stockholm, 1972)
- United Nations: "Protection of global climate for present and future generations of mankind" (Hague Declaration on the Environment,
- United Nations Environment Programme
- United Nations Environment: World Conservation Monitoring Programme
- World Health Organization: "Health and human rights" (Fact sheet number 323, 2015)
Self-Defense: Reasonable Force to Protect People and Property from Aggression
The argument for the use of self-defense, or the use of reasonable force to protect innocent people from aggression, operates at three levels:
(a) between sovereign nations, (b) within a nation or civil society, and (c) at the level of the individual defending their person, family or property from external aggression.
- (a) The responsibility to protect (R2P) is seen as part of international law behind intervention in another state. This can involve reasonable force if the aggressor does not desist when asked.
- (b) It also lies behind police action to protect citizens within a civil society. This can involve reasonable force if the aggressor does not desist when asked.
- (c) It also lies behind an individual's right of self-protection. This can involve reasonable force if the aggressor does not desist when asked.