News for Gibraltar

Gibraltar Created: 2 Apr 2009
Belgian Liberal MEP Frederique Ries last night urged fellow Euro parliamentarians to back precautionary measures against the potential damaging effects to human health posed by man-made electro magnetic fields.

Ms Ries who presented a report on the matter for consideration by the assembly, said she was sufficiently concerned to propose action even before the full extent of scientific knowledge weighs in. The report analyses the effects of everyday services which have improved living standards including mobile telephony and wireless internet.

The report states that it is now two years since the number of mobile phones in Europe exceeded the number of people. Phone network coverage is almost everywhere, add to this Wi-Fi networks, phone masts, power lines, GPS receivers and a growing amount of electromagnetic waves.

The health risks are as yet unknown. What is known is that human beings are now almost constantly exposed to what Ms Ries calls “a cocktail of electromagnetic fields”.

The World Health Organisation has already said that given the novelty of mobile telephony it will not know the public health consequences until 2015. Put grimly, this is when people could start dying of cancer.

The Ries report calls for action now based on the precautionary principle used in other forms of public policy. It calls for the following steps:

• An EU limit of 3 volts per metre. Nine countries already have this limit.

• Antennas and phone masts should be set a specific distance from schools and hospitals.

• Maps of exposure to high-voltage power lines, radio frequencies and microwaves

should be publicly available online.

• At present there are no EU-wide laws governing the safety of mobile telephony, just a recommendation.

Electromagnetic fields

• Electrically charged objects create the electromagnetic field.

• EU recommends the limits of 41.25 volts/metre for GSM technology.

• Reduce radiation by using hands-free, keeping calls short, switching off phones when not in use.
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Source: Gibraltar Chronicle, 02 Apr 2009

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