Initiated by the International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety, June 6, 2008.
As stated in the Benevento Resolution of September 2006, we remain concerned about the effects of human exposure to electromagnetic fields on health. At the Venice Workshop, entitled, "Foundations of bioelectromagnetics: towards a new rationale for risk assessment and management," we discussed electro-hypersensitivity, blood brain barrier changes, learning and behavioral effects, changes in anti-oxidant enzyme activities, DNA damage, biochemical mechanisms of interaction, biological damage and, experimental approaches to validate these effects. As an outcome, we are compelled to confirm the existence of non-thermal effects of electromagnetic fields on living matter, which seem to occur at every level of investigation from molecular to epidemiological.
An urgent task before international researchers is to discover the detailed mechanisms of non-thermal interactions between electromagnetic fields and living matter. A collateral consequence will be the design of new general public and occupational protection standards. We, who are at the forefront of this research, encourage an ethical approach in setting of exposure standards which protect the health of all, including those who are more vulnerable. We recognize the need for research to reveal the critical exposure parameters of effect and risk from exposure to electromagnetic fields.
The non-ionizing radiation protection standards recommended by international standards organizations, and supported by the World Health Organization, are inadequate. Existing guidelines are based on results from acute exposure studies and only thermal effects are considered. A world wide application of the Precautionary Principle is required. In addition, new standards should be developed to take various physiological conditions into consideration, e.g., pregnancy, newborns, children, and elderly people.
We take exception to the claim of the wireless communication industry that there is no credible scientific evidence to conclude there a risk. Recent epidemiological evidence is stronger than before, which is a further reason to justify precautions be taken to lower exposure standards in accordance with the Precautionary Principle.
We recognize the growing public health problem known as electrohypersensitivity; that this adverse health condition can be quite disabling; and, that this condition requires further urgent investigation and recognition.
We strongly advise limited use of cell phones, and other similar devices, by young children and teenagers, and we call upon governments to apply the Precautionary Principle as an interim measure while more biologically relevant standards are developed to protect against, not only the absorption of electromagnetic energy by the head, but also adverse effects of the signals on biochemistry, physiology and electrical biorhythms.
The International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety (ICEMS) held an international conference entitled "The Precautionary EMF Approach: Rationale, Legislation and Implementation", hosted by the City of Benevento, Italy, on February 22, 23 & 24, 2006. The meeting was dedicated to W. Ross Adey, M.D. (1922-2004). The scientists at the conference endorsed and extended the 2002 Catania Resolution and resolved that:
- More evidence has accumulated suggesting that there are adverse health effects from occupational and public exposures to electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields, or EMF, at current exposure levels. What is needed, but not yet realized, is a comprehensive, independent and transparent examination of the evidence pointing to this emerging, potential public health issue.
- Resources for such an assessment are grossly inadequate despite the explosive growth of technologies for wireless communications as well as the huge ongoing investment in power transmission.
- There is evidence that present sources of funding bias the analysis and interpretation of research findings towards rejection of evidence of possible public health risks.
- Arguments that weak (low intensity) EMF cannot affect biological systems do not represent the current spectrum of scientific opinion.
- Based on our review of the science, biological effects can occur from exposures to both extremely low frequency fields (ELF EMF) and radiation frequency fields (RF EMF). Epidemiological and in vivo as well as in vitro experimental evidence demonstrates that exposure to some ELF EMF can increase cancer risk in children and induce other health problems in both children and adults. Further, there is accumulating epidemiological evidence indicating an increased brain tumor risk from long term use of mobile phones, the first RF EMF that has started to be comprehensively studied. Epidemiological and laboratory studies that show increased risks for cancers and other diseases from occupational exposures to EMF cannot be ignored. Laboratory studies on cancers and other diseases have reported that hypersensitivity to EMF may be due in part to a genetic predisposition.
We encourage governments to adopt a framework of guidelines for public and occupational EMF exposure that reflect the Precautionary Principle -- as some nations have already done. Precautionary strategies should be based on design and performance standards and may not necessarily define numerical thresholds because such thresholds may erroneously be interpreted as levels below which no adverse effect can occur. These strategies should include:
- Promote alternatives to wireless communication systems, e.g., use of fiber optics and coaxial cables; design cellular phones that meet safer performance specifications, including radiating away from the head; preserve existing land line phone networks; place power lines underground in the vicinity of populated areas, only siting them in residential neighborhoods as a last resort;
- Inform the population of the potential risks of cell phone and cordless phone use. Advise consumers to limit wireless calls and use a land line for long conversations.
- Limit cell phone and cordless phone use by young children and teenagers to the lowest possible level and urgently ban telecom companies from marketing to them.
- Require manufacturers to supply hands-free kits (via speaker phones or ear phones), with each cell phone and cordless phone.
- Protect workers from EMF generating equipment, through access restrictions and EMF shielding of both individuals and physical structures.
- Plan communications antenna and tower locations to minimize human exposure. Register mobile phone base stations with local planning agencies and use computer mapping technology to inform the public on possible exposures. Proposals for city-wide wireless access systems (e.g. Wi-Fi, WIMAX, broadband over cable or power-line or equivalent technologies) should require public review of potential EMF exposure and, if installed, municipalities should ensure this information is available to all and updated on a timely basis.
- Designate wireless-free zones in cities, in public buildings (schools, hospitals, residential areas) and, on public transit, to permit access by persons who are hypersensitive to EMF.
- ICEMS is willing to assist authorities in the development of an EMF research agenda. ICEMS encourages the development of clinical and epidemiological protocols for investigations of geographical clusters of persons with reported allergic reactions and other diseases or sensitivities to EMF, and document the effectiveness of preventive interventions. ICEMS encourages scientific collaboration and reviews of research findings.
 EMF, in this resolution, refers to zero to 300 GHz.
 The Precautionary Principle states when there are indications of possible adverse effects, though they remain uncertain, the risks from doing nothing may be far greater than the risks of taking action to control these exposures. The Precautionary Principle shifts the burden of proof from those suspecting a risk to those who discount it.
 International Commission For Electromagnetic Safety. For information, link to www.icems.eu.
We, the undersigned scientists, agree to assist in the promotion of EMF research and the development of strategies to protect public health through the wise application of the precautionary principle.
The Scientists at the International Conference
"State of the Research on Electromagnetic Fields - Scientific and Legal Issues", organized by ISPESL*, the University of Vienna and the City of Catania, held in Catania (Italy) on September 13th - 14th, 2002, agree to the following:
- Epidemiological and in vivo and in vitro experimental evidence demonstrates the existence of electromagnetic field (EMF) induced effects, some of which can be adverse to health.
- We take exception to arguments suggesting that weak (low intensity) EMF cannot interact with tissue.
- There are plausible mechanistic explanations for EMF-induced effects which occur below present ICNIRP and IEEE guidelines and exposure recommendations by the EU.
- The weight of evidence calls for preventive strategies based on the precautionary principle. At times the precautionary principle may involve prudent avoidance and prudent use.
- We are aware that there are gaps in knowledge on biological and physical effects, and health risks related to EMF, which require additional independent research.
- The undersigned scientists agree to establish an international scientific commission to promote research for the protection of public health from EMF and to develop the scientific basis and strategies for assessment, prevention, management and communication of risk, based on the precautionary principle.
* = Istituto Superiore per la Prevenzione e la Sicurezza del Lavoro, Italy (National Institute for Prevention and Work Safety, Italy)
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