Raise awareness of environmental health issues in order to better protect our children and future generations.

EMF Studies

30 December 2014

Swiss Re Does Not Re-insure Mobile Phones for Health Risks

Swiss Re, one of the largest re-insurance companies in the world, does not re-insure mobile phones for health risks.  Following are excerpts from its
1997 paper, "Electrosmog, a Phantom Risk", on why it will not take on health claims from cell phones.  Countries which deny health risks had better take due note of what insurance companies are saying.  See also Swiss Re slide presentation on electrosmog from 2009.
Swiss Re has rated electromagnetic fields (EMF) as the highest risk (27 on a scale from 1 to 33) on its risk table, above agents that are known carcinogens and killers such as meat infected with mad cow disease.  In a recent document, it declared, "from a prospective point of view, risk from dangers linked to EMF can be classified as an emergent risk".  Silicone implants and asbestos were once considered emergent risks and are now proven risks, costing society millions of dollars in medical expenses and legal actions.

In February 2009, the French telecoms company Bouygues Telecom, was ordered to take down a mobile phone antenna due to uncertainty about its effect on health. Residents in the commune where it was located had sued the company claiming adverse health effects from the radiation emitted by the antenna. The Versailles Court of Appeals stated that, "Considering that while the reality of the risk remains hypothetical, it becomes clear from reading the contributions and scientific publications produced in debate and the divergent legislative positions taken in various countries, that uncertainty over the harmlessness of exposure to the waves emitted by relay antennas persists and can be considered serious and reasonable."

The advocacy organization, People’s Initiative, has provided this information in its very interesting document, “The Legislator’s Guide to Warning Labels on Cell Phones and the Layman’s Guide to the Science Behind Non-Thermal Effects from Wireless Devices” which can be viewed by clicking here

View this CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) video report on cell phones and insurance companies.


The People's Initiative explains:  "A re-insurance company is a company that backs up an industry for claims that the industry may not be able to cover.  Possibly the largest re-insurance company in the world, Swiss Re, will not take this liability on with cell phones and health effects.  At present, most cell phone companies are “self insured”.  Meaning, they may be able to just file bankruptcy should there be too many claims.   The following are selections of statements from Swiss Reʼs paper on why it will not take on health claims from cell phones.  We have written our words in italics so as to decipher from Swiss Reʼs words."

Opening statement...

“Electro-smog is suspected of promoting cancer and other diseases.  Prevailing opinion assumes, however, that the electrical engineering and power industries can only be held liable if science provides conclusive proof - which it has not done to present - that weak electromagnetic fields impair health”...

...“This publication comes to the opposite conclusion and shows that on the basis of present knowledge, it must be expected that plaintiffs will win suits dealing with this issue.”

Swiss Re Table for risk...

The rating of 33 is the most dangerous and highest risk rating possible for re-insurance
with Swiss Re.  Were the table divided up into grades that we received in school, it
would like something like this...

 1-6 is an A, 
7-12 a B,
13-19 a C,
20-26 a D,
27-33   F

 Asbestos, endocrine disrupters, nanotechnology and fuel additives are considered to be more “insurable” than cell phones and EMF related products and infrastructure.  On a totally separate note, beef is almost as uninsurable as cell phones since the US prohibits testing of itʼs cattle for mad cow disease.

Softeners (endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC) 20.0
Asbestos (re-emerging risk) 21.0
Resistance to antibiotics 21.5
Methyl Tertiary-Butyl Ether (MTBE additives to fuel) 22.0
Nano Technology 23.0
Genetically Modified Crops 24.0
Unintentional/accidental mixing and blending of GM crops 24.0
Animals or animal products and feedstuffs infected with Bovine Spongiform
Encephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease)  26.5
Electromagnetic Fields (EMF), Electro-smog 27.0

Electromagnetic fields received the highest risk rating on the entire list, above agents
that are known carcinogens and known killers like meat infected with mad cow disease.
Page 11
“Energy effects harm organisms when individual molecules, cells or organisms absorb
so much energy that they are totally or partially destroyed.”...

... “One possible consequence is the formation of cancer cells.

Page 12
"... an external alternating magnetic field can induce electrical currents in the body, which under certain circumstances can lead to heart flutter, provoke visual disturbances and affect biochemical processes.”
Page 13
“Nonetheless, harm to the organism is conceivable.”...
... “This corresponds to the hypothesis of electrosmog: some researchers conjecture that the profusion of electromagnetic phenomena in environments with high densities of electrical devices produces a kind of smog which over the long term, stresses organisms in a manner similar, for example, to low volume, but continuous noise.
“...  it is conceivable that the regulatory mechanism itself could be impaired.  One example of such thinking is the melatonin hypothesis.  Melatonin is an important hormone which is thought to have a cancer-suppressing effect. It is produced by the pineal gland, which is located deep in the brain...”

“Experiments show that magnetic fields also act on the pineal gland, leading to a decrease in melatonin production.  The fields do not damage the gland, but send it a signal not to produce melatonin at the present time.    This is why we cannot exclude the possibility that magnetic fields of technical origin may influence the pineal gland, cause a reduction in melatonin production and thus indirectly weaken an organismʼs defenses against tumours.”...

... “In principle, therefore, we are dealing with damage which as a rule can be attributed just as unambiguously to certain types of electromagnetic exposure as a broken bone can be attributed to a fall while skiing.”

Page 14
“... reduced melatonin production may be attributable not only to the effects of magnetic fields, but to many different, possibly even unknown processes.”
“... research deals with complex cause-and-effect interrelationships, in which observable biological responses can be triggered or influenced in unknown ways by weak signals.”
“Should we someday know what role weak electromagnetic fields play in cancer, then it will only be because we will also know what causes cancer.”
“For example, several studies show that children growing up in the vicinity of high voltage power lines develop leukemia more frequently than the norm.  However, to see this as proof or even clear evidence that electromagnetic fields have a carcinogenic or cancer-promoting effect is to draw a conclusion that contradicts all the rules of statistics and is scientifically untenable.  This is because these studies note only the correlation between the presence of certain sources of EMF - the electrical lines - and the relative incidence of this disease among children were effectively exposed, nor were they able to determine whether signs of irritation actually occurred.  Moreover statistical studies never conclude anything about the type of relationships which may exist between two phenomenon.”

Page 15
“Since the signals are amplified by the organism, however, it is theoretically possible for even the weakest signals to induce biological responses and in this way affect organic processes.  This yields the hypothetical possibility of indirect relationships between weak electromagnetic exposure and, in the final analysis, every complex process taking place in the organism, including such diseases as cancer, Alzheimerʼs, Parkinsonʼs and so forth.”
Page 19

“Thus far, we have discussed the hazards posed by electromagnetic phenomena. 
In doing so, we have considered the health of those who are exposed to such radiation and fields as possibly endangered.”
Page 26
“Analogous to the distinction between EMF risks and EMF liability risks, we will first consider the risks to health insurers.  For them, the risk of change would consist in the possibility of abruptly rising health-care costs in connection with EMF.”

 “Therefore, the risk of change must be understood as the possibility that the routine use
of electrical devices and installations for their intended purposes, and in accordance with the state of the art - all of which has long been considered harmless - could suddenly be deemed hazardous to health...”
“This could happen for two reasons; first, new scientific findings might provide objective
proof that EM health risks are significantly greater than has been assumed thus far.”


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