Opinion of Eileen O’Connor on recent EU Stakeholders meeting

Publication of this is opinion was suggested by the author, Eileen O’Connor. I am very grateful because it gives some insight into the workings of the EU Stakeholders group.

The EU Stakeholders is the “reason” that Michael Milligan of MMF used as an justification to not participate in The Round-Table Initiative.

*********************

European Commission, DG SANCO – Health and Consumers, Unit D3 Risk Assessment, Brussels

Workshop on Risk Communication – Electromagnetic Fields and Human Health

20 February 2013

DG SANCO invited stakeholders to participate in a risk communication workshop, not risk management. In addition DG SANCO provided a clear statement saying this meeting is not in a position to deal with the Precautionary Principle.  I raise a question to this approach and would like to know how the Commission intends on providing risk communication without discussing the risks first?

The continued lack of action or implementation of the precautionary approach to RF from the EU Commission and other authorities is leading to serious frustration with members of the public, some politicians and many doctors and scientists.

Many scientists are now refusing to attend meetings at the EU Commission due to the lack of respect shown towards their advice or opinions.  The following statement from Professor Denis Henshaw offers evidence towards this:

The mis-match between our extensive scientific knowledge of the adverse health effects of exposures to EMFs of all forms, and the unwillingness of Governments, including the EU even to listen to the scientific advice from those most knowledgeable in the field, well illustrates the unwillingness of many to attend the EMF workshop on risk communication.

There is growing public concern about health risks from exposure to electromagnetic fields from base stations, wifi, smart meters and mobile phones. We therefore need to review the latest evidence using the precautionary principle and take the latest findings into account before providing risk communication.  RF is now classified by IARC as a 2B possible human carcinogen and therefore firmly falls into the proper application of the Precautionary Principle as defined in various EC documents. It is not ethical to blindly expose the public to electromagnetic fields labelled as “2B possible human carcinogen” without informing them about the risks.

4.3.4 The Precautionary principle under EU law

The EU provides for a precautionary approach to environmental harm under Art 174* EU Treaty (*previously Article 130r before the Treaty renumbered). Article 174(2) states:

“Community policy on the environment shall aim at a high level of protection taking into account the diversity of situations in the various regions of the Community. It shall be based on the precautionary principle and on the principles that preventive action should be taken, that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source and that the polluter should pay”. In case of doubt, the authorities are prevented from authorising the plan or project under the precautionary principle, article 6(3).

It appears that the EU are totally ignoring and misusing the Precautionary Principle and this approach is forcing the public to take action into their own hands via the courts and through spreading information and research via action groups. Lack of action and consideration from authorities and policy makers is creating the need for a global movement amongst activists.  There are now approximately 85 organisations listed under the umbrella for the International EMF Alliance and the list is growing.

Many people are now looking towards taking legal action. On October, 2012, the Italian Supreme Court ruled the Insurance Body for Work (INAIL) must compensate a worker who developed a tumour in the head due to long-term, heavy use of mobile phones on the job. Importantly, the ruling of the Supreme Court underlined the discrepancies between the low evidence of risk found by industry-funded studies and the higher evidence of risk found by independent studies.

In addition, A Spanish Labour Court in Madrid ruled ‘permanent incapacitation’ of a college professor who suffered from chronic fatigue and environmental and electromagnetic hypersensitivity. The ruling is unique in this regard and will set a precedent for future conditions related to hypersensitivity to these microwaves.

Mobile phone radiation lawsuits are also moving forward in the U.S.

Business risks for investors listed on the New York Stock Exchange are also discussed in the annual report of the securities exchange act of 1934 for the fiscal year ending December 21, 2011

The report includes the following statement from VERIZON:

Our wireless business also faces personal injury and consumer class action lawsuits relating to alleged health effects of wireless phones or radio frequency transmitters, and class action lawsuits that challenge marketing practices and disclosures relating to alleged adverse health effects of handheld wireless phones. We may incur significant expenses in defending these lawsuits. In addition, we may be required to pay significant awards or settlements.”

Download more details here: http://www.radiationresearch.org/images/rrt_articles/Business.pdf

Policy makers are clearly failing to catch up with the science, the courts and public opinion.  Measures need to be taken as a matter of urgency to alert the public to the latest information.

The last SCENIHR report was produced 19th January, 2009. This is a review of research up to 2008. IARC have since released the 2b possible human carcinogen classification and the Bioinitiative Group have just last month released a new updated report.  The previous SCENIHR report is no longer appropriate and we therefore cannot provide risk communication until the 2b possible human carcinogen classification is taken into account.

The Precautionary Principle has been built into a number of conventions, regulations and laws, notably the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (1992). The Rio Declaration states:  Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation. (From Principle 15)

Is the EU Commission willing to repeat the mistakes made with the Tobacco industry?  Or can we learn and take action now before it’s too late?

We cannot allow corporate strategies with the end goal of profit-over-health to subvert the truth.  It is clear from the Italian Supreme Court decision that the highest court in Italy has taken a decision that bias may be evident in science produced by those companies that have a vested interest in selling their products.  Thus we have moved beyond a “perception” of risk or blind acceptance of what is presented to a more discriminating view of how science can be twisted to achieve and outcome that may not have a basis in truth.

“Risk perception” is a term and a focus that has been long used by industry to employ a rather self-serving view that “we are going to frighten consumers if we tell them the truth, and that fright is of greater harm than any real threat that could come from the technology or the product.”

Really what we’re discussing here is “who has the right to play God?” The truth is the truth. Reality is reality. Psychological studies of human behaviour have long shown that patients facing critical illness have better outcomes when armed with two things: truth and control.  If we can come out of this meeting deciding that truth in the hands of consumers is a far better tool than a handful of self-interested parties obscuring the truth behind the scenes, we will have a more honest society and a physically and psychologically healthier one.

If we decide it is best to hide the truth for fear of creating fear among the masses, please raise your hand if you will like to volunteer for the position of playing God.

Let us remember how many decades “risk perception” was debated with respect to tobacco . . . learn from history and not live with regret!

Eileen O’Connor

Director; EM Radiation Research Trust

&

Founder and Board member for International EMF Alliance

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Opinion of Eileen O’Connor on recent EU Stakeholders meeting

  1. Eileen , your posts fill me with a feeling of optimism. My husband and I have upped our awareness campaign here in the BLue Mountains of NSW where public schools that were until recently hard wired are now wirelessly connecting everything and spending much hard earned parents and communities raised money on wireless tablets…..aaah !!! the wifi in school safety campaigns are excellent. we are a small corner of the world but please if we can help you in anyway say.
    best regards
    Lucy Chipperfield and Simon Chipperfield. parents of 9 , 5 and 3 year old girls.

    • Dear Lucy and Simon,

      I’m sure you are aware that wifi uses the same technology as cell towers/phone masts. Download details about the phone mast in our village in Wishaw. I have no doubt in my mind that the phone mast was responsible for my breast cancer at the age of 38. Download details about the cancer cluster in our village here:
      http://www.radiationresearch.org/images/rrt_articles/2007-rs.pdf

      I would not want my children to be exposed 24/7 to this form or radiation. I hope you can help to create awareness in your community.

      Kind regards,

      Eileen

  2. Pingback: Många forskare vägrar nu att delta i möten på EU-kommissionen på grund av bristen på respekt för deras kunskap och råd | Mobilstrålningen i vår livsmiljö - Det tysta miljögiftet

  3. Thank you, Eileen O’Connor, for confronting this ruse of “risk perception” head on at the EU Stakeholder’s meeting. Risk perception is now the telecom industry’s “go to term” to confuse the consumer and make governmental officials & the medical community believe the risk of “fear of RF radiation” is greater than radiation itself. You are 100% correct that this is precisely what the tobacco industry did successfully for 40 years, and by the time the truth was out about tobacco’s link to causation with respect to cancer and heart disease, too many millions were already addicted and the habit of smoking was inculcated into society. The risks of radiation from wireless and “second-hand” wireless are greater than for tobacco, as RF (microwave) radiation is a 2b “possible human” carcinogen and a known neurotoxin; in addition, RF radiation is more ubiquitous than tobacco smoke ever was. It cannot penetrate the walls of buildings as RF radiation does. Therefore it is more urgent than ever to confront this charade of delay and discussion with respect to “risk perception”. I would say the meeting was a waste of time but for speeches such as yours, Yury Grigoriev’s, and a few other notable speakers. We don’t have another moment to waste discussing how one perceives the risk, and whether or not fear of radiation is worse than the radiation itself. We’re grownups. We can’t rely on Telecom, making trillions off their many products, to determine fear is our greatest enemy. I would suggest the cancer-causing, brain-altering non-ionizing radiation is far worse. Has anyone raised his hand yet to play God? Where is Mike Repacholi . . . ?

    • Dear Susan

      Thank you for your brain study work on the firefighters exposed to microwave radiation from phone masts in California. Your work as author of the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) calling for a moratorium on the siting of phone masts is very important. I presented this information to Firefighters in Merseyside and Birmingham in the UK. Thank you for your important work. http://www.iaff.org/hs/Facts/CellTowerFinal.asp

      Kind regards
      Eileen

  4. Dariusz, instead of Eileen’s interpretations and opinions I would appreciate to know what really happened at the EU-stakeholders-workshop in Brussels, and who and on base of which criterias the stakeholders invited have been choosen,

    as I believe that PMI Austria is a not negligible stakeholder too, moreover as PMI is member-association of “Umweltdachverband” = umbrella-NGO of more than 37 Austrian environment associations, recognised by the Austrian Environment Ministry, and myself in the board of “Umweltdachverband” and as “Umweltdachverband” is fully condividing our EMF-aims. In addition I had the opportunity to organize a press-conference in cooperation with 2 members of the European Parliament on 05.12.2012 with the presence of Mr. Marcolini, the Italian ex-manager who won his mobile-phone-case against INAIL. Due to all these reasons, I believe that the EU-DG-Sanco-stakeholder-selection has to be scrutinized…

    Eva Rath (in the past: Marsalek) co-founder, board-member and spokesman of PMI: member of WHO-2003-PP-working group “Application of the Precautionary Principle to EMF” (Luxembourg) member of the Austrian EMF-standard setting group

    Am 17.03.2013 08:16, schrieb The Round Table Initiative on Cell Phones & Health: > WordPress.com > dariuszleszczynski posted: “Publication of this is opinion was > suggested by the author, Eileen O’Connor. I am very grateful because > it gives some insight into the workings of the EU Stakeholders group. > The EU Stakeholders is the “reason” that Michael Milligan of MMF used > as an just” >

    • Dear Eva

      My colleagues and I organised the UK Radiation Research Trust conference in 2008 and worked hard to bring both sides of the debate together. Mike Repacholi attended the event and also helped to bring ICNIRP scientists to the conference, a member from the EU Commission also presented. The event was chaired by MPs from each political party. The conference was held at the Royal Society in London. You can download details for the 2008 Radiation Research Trust Conference here:
      http://archive.radiationresearch.org/conference/index.asp

      The EU Commission then held a workshop on EMFs Science and Policy in February 2009 and I along with many others was invited to present. You can download details here: http://ec.europa.eu/health/risk_assessment/events/ev_20090211_en.htm

      The EU Commission then invited me to become a member of the Stakeholder Dialogue Group following my previous engagements.
      All members of the group were nominated in a personal capacity to benefit from the necessary freedom to engage in this open dialogue.
      We have held a number of meetings at the EU Commission since 2011. You can download minutes of the meetings here:
      http://ec.europa.eu/health/electromagnetic_fields/eu_actions/stakeholder_dialogue_group/index_en.htm

      I hope this helps to provide some background information.

      Kind regards,
      Eileen

    • That’s fine, thanks Eileen, I already had that link.

      I would be interested in knowing how the discussion went, what issues were explored and how the consensus felt, if there was one.

      • Stakeholders delivered their presentations and there was no consensus apart from agreeing to meet again in around 12 months.
        We may be waiting a lifetime for Government and Industry to take responsibility. It’s time for action now.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s