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EMF Studies

17 April 2012

Unreasonable Criticism of Gro Harlem Brundtland Regarding Her Electro-Hypersensitivity

Recently, I posted an article about the electro-hypersensitivity of former Norwegian Prime Minister and Director-General of the World Health Organization, Gro Harlem Brundtland.  Just a few days ago, three articles in the Norwegian media were published criticizing her for having creating fear of electromagnetic radiation in the population.  One of the loudest critics is Michael Repacholi, who for years led research on mobile phone radiation and health at WHO, and who had ties to the wireless industry.  Here is one of the three articles, from the Stavanger Aftenblad, 13 April 2012.

Bent Hoie (H) and Laila Dåvøy (KrF), Norwegian Parliament, believe Gro Harlem Brundtland and others who claim to be sick of mobile radiation.  “Whether mobile phone radiation is harmful, I have no idea. But people have health problems from the radiation, there is no doubt,” says Bent Hoie, led by Parliament's Health and Human Services Committee.

“I believe people who say they are allergic to mobile phone radiation,” said committee member Laila Dåvøy to the Stavanger Aftenblad.

Statements contrary to established research
The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority and the World Health Organization says that electromagnetic hypersensitivity is not documented as a phenomenon.
Hoie has no doubt.

Stavanger Aftenblad wrote ... about the former WHO director, Michael Repacholi, who for years led the research on mobile phone radiation and health. In an interview with the magazine Plot, he claimed that Gro Harlem Brundtland has created fear of radiation in the population, in that ten years ago she went public and said she got headaches from mobile phone radiation. She was head of the World Health Organization. The assertion is supported largely by Norwegian researchers.

“This is an unfair criticism of Gro. She stated that she is electro-hypersensitive and that cannot be criticized. I think there is no doubt that there are people who are electro-hypersensitive, as some are allergic to peanuts and oranges. But what we cannot conclude is that radiation, peanuts and oranges are bad for everyone,” says Hoie, who is eagerly awaiting the government's expert committee, which will soon present a report on whether such mobile phone radiation poses a health risk.


Disrespectful
Dåvøy also responded to the former WHO leader's criticism of Gro.

“I think it's pretty incredible and disrespectful to react that way when Gro has chosen to be open about her problems with electro-hypersensitivity. Gro has been brave. But I find that very many of these persons will be dismissed and discredited by those who claim to be experts on this, said Dåvøy to Aftenbladet.

She knows several cases where children have been sick, and then the symptoms disappear when the radiation is removed.

“Experts say that electromagnetic hypersensitivity is something people think they have. But you cannot blame children for getting sick from this because they should have heard someone say they get sick from it,” says Dåvøy.

Both she and Hoie are skeptical of the Norwegian Radiation Protection advice in this domain, and believes that Norway's policy should take greater account of the fact that mobile phone radiation can pose a health problem for many people. International research shows that anywhere between 1.5 to 10 percent of the population feels that they are electro-hypersensitive.

“It is difficult to be electro-hypersensitive when the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority advises the health authorities. Electro-hypersensitivity is dismissed as non-existent. I think we must look more at countries like France, which has a more proactive precautionary policy than Norway. In a few years it may be too late, says Dåvøy.

Has this frightened students in Korea?
The Swedish journalist Mona Nilsson, author of the book "Mobiltelefonins hälsorisker" says the former WHO director Repacholi has been the mobile industry's errand boy, and a consistent denial of health risks. 
She refers to research reports that will prove that Korean students, mouse fetuses and animals generally react to mobile phone radiation.

“So we can conclude that Gro has managed to scare the students not only in Korea but also animals and insects harmed by cellular radiation,” Nillsson writes in a scathing e-mail to Eve magazine.

Response from Norway politicians:


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