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

24 February 2014

Switzerland: Physicians in Favor of the Environment Encourages Signature of the Freiburg Appeal 2012 on the Dangers of Radiofrequencies from Wireless Technologies

The Freiburg Appeal on the health risks of radio-frequency radiation was published on this blog in early 2013.  Swiss medical associations, apart from MfE, probably do not know it exists. We welcome readers' comments on how to make it more visible to physicians, health authorities and the general public in Switzerland.

The Swiss medical doctors' association, Physicians in Favor of the Environment (MfE) issued an article on their site on 26 November 2012, encouraging the signature of the Freiburg Appeal of 2012 on the health risks of radio-frequency radiation from wireless technologies.

Here is the message from the Freiburg Appeal site:  The full text of the Appeal follows.

International Doctors´ Appeal 2012
10 Years after the Freiburg Appeal:
Radio-frequency Radiation Poses a Health Risk. Physicians Demand Overdue Precaution.

Ten years ago, physicians of the Freiburg Appeal called on their colleagues, the public, and the politicians and health officials in charge because they were deeply concerned about the health of their fellow citizens. This Doctors´Appeal, in which they strongly warned about the dangers of wireless radiation, was translated into many languages and supported by more than 1000 physicians and more than 36,000 people worldwide.

Over the past decade, the evidence of serious risks has been increasing and accumulating worldwide. As physicians, we observe a clear increase in health symptoms when radio-frequency exposure levels increase with regard to distance and time—especially in the case of heavy cell phone use, and in the vicinity of DECT cordless phones, Wi-Fi, and cell towers—including problems falling asleep and staying asleep, chronic fatigue, headaches, migraine, vertigo, tinnitus, unhealthy blood pressure levels and arrhythmias, concentration and memory problems, learning and behavioral disorders, a more frequent incidence of ADHD among children. And numerous studies of independent scientists have now confirmed many of these observations made by physicians.

In the wake of the Freiburg Appeal, twelve other doctors‘ appeals requested overdue precautionary action in response to this worrisome situation—but so far in vain. The signatories of those appeals could rely on a professional Code of Ethics that requires a physician to participate in maintaining the natural basis of life regarding human health. The authors of this International Doctors’ Appeal are guided by the same Code and today ask for your support.

We encourage you to sign the attached appeal and ask you to forward this appeal as well as our information portal to other colleagues.

International Doctors´ Appeal 2012
10 Years after the Freiburg Appeal:

Radio-frequency Radiation Poses a Health Risk. Physicians Demand Overdue Precaution.
More than 1000 physicians signed the “Freiburg Appeal” in 2002. It was translated into many
languages. As many as 36,000 people from all over the world support its warning about the
dangers of radio-frequency radiation. Today—ten years later—we as physicians and scientists
call again on our colleagues and the wider global community, but also on all politicians around the world.

I. Evidence:

Despite all warnings, more and more new wireless technologies are introduced into our daily lives: cell phone networks, TETRA, LTE, cordless phones, Wi-Fi, baby monitors, wireless meters, digital radio and TV, and many others. All of these wireless technologies interfere
with the biophysical organization of life with increasing layers and densities of electromagnetic fields.

Human, animal, and plant life is controlled by naturally occurring electromagnetic fields and signals.  With their extremely low to very high frequencies, technical electromagnetic fields can interfere strongly with cell communication and metabolism. Initially, the body’s natural healing capacity, in its attempt to maintain homeostasis, will correct imbalances through finely tuned control mechanisms. Prolonged electromagnetic stress, however, may lead to a chronic impairment of this important homeostatic response and result in disease.

Scientific studies repeatedly demonstrate that electromagnetic fields can impair self-regulation and cause adverse biological impacts, including: increased permeability of the protective blood-brain barrier,changes in brain wave activity, unbalanced release of neurotransmitters and hormones (especially the increase in stress hormones), immune system impairment, damage to genetic material, and lowered fertility, to name only a few of the well-established examples.  Oxidative cell stress—a major cause of many diseases—has been shown to be a central effect mechanism of radiation exposure.  

A number of pressing mental health disorders appear to be increasing at a worrisome rate, including depression, burnout syndrome as well as sleep, anxiety, and panic disorders. This is also evident for a number of other diseases: stroke in younger people, degenerative neurological disorders (e.g. early onset of dementia syndromes), headaches, tinnitus, autism, learning disorders, concentration problems, and behavioral disorders (ADHD) Empirical observations suggest that the increase in radio-frequency radiation exposures counts among the crucial environmental factors that are responsible for a steady increase in allergies, skin problems, pain syndromes, susceptibility to infections, high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmias, metabolic disorders, and multi-system disorders.

Observable patterns of temporal and spatial relationships between the onset of these symptoms and disorders and the start of an exposure to electromagnetic fields (e.g. in the vicinity of a newly installed cell tower or after heavy cell phone use) suggest that they are causally related. The association between cell phone/cordless phone use and a clear increase in brain tumors has been repeatedly documented in the scientific literature.

Children and adolescents are most vulnerable. After leukemia, brain tumors are the second most common cancer in children. In Europe the cancer rate among adolescents has increased 1.5 percent each year.  In England frontal and temporal lobe tumors in children rose significantly from 1999 to 2009. And children increasingly display addictive behavior in the use of their cell phones and other online devices. Numerous appeals and resolutions, therefore, call for the special protection of children and adolescents, as, for instance, the European Environment Agency did in the fall of 2011.

The number of those who suffer from electrohypersensitivity is steadily growing. In those who are affected, severe symptoms to electromagnetic fields can develop immediately or hours after the exposure to technical electromagnetic fields. Sweden has recognized electrohypersensitivity as a functional impairment. The European Parliament has called on itsmember states “to follow the example of Sweden,” and U.S. State Governors have raised public awareness about the serious consequences of electrohypersensitivity. The Austrian Medical Association has released a guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of EMF-related health problems and illnesses.

Health care professionals worldwide make observations that are consistent with and increasingly confirmed by scientific findings. Adverse effects of electromagnetic fields and the fundamental impairment of biologicalcontrol mechanisms can occur well below current exposure limits and have been demonstrated, in someinstances for decades. The international BioInitiative Working Group (2007) documented a broad range of health risks based on more than 1500 scientific studies. Since then numerous studies have confirmed the worrisome results and shown that current exposure limits that only consider damage caused by thermal effects are inadequate. The World Health Organization (WHO) classified RF radiation as possibly carcinogenic in May 2011 based on the increased risk of brain tumors among those who heavily use their cell phones for many years. And market-leading manufacturers of cell phones corroborate the association when they justify their patent applications with the argument of cancer risk.

In numerous appeals and resolutions over the past years, a growing number of expert scientists and physicians have pointed to the health risks associated with radio-frequency radiation exposures. In 2008 the Russian Radiation Protection Committee RNCNIRP gave a warning about the serious and irreparable consequences of electromagnetic radiation especially for children, and again in 2011, intensified its warning.  The European Environment Agency called for urgent precautionary action in 2009. The European Parliament repeated this call also in 2009.  

In a unanimous resolution in 2011, the European Council demands abandoning wireless communication policies that are seen as unsustainable in their current form.

II. Appeal:

As physicians and scientists, we hereby call on our colleagues; on the leaders of federal,
state, and local governments; but also on the wider community to take action and implement the following precautionary strategies, which also include fundamental human rights:

1. Protect the inviolability of the home by minimizing radio-frequency exposure levels, which penetrate through the walls of one’s own home.

2. Ensure considerably lower radio-frequency radiation exposures as well as exposure limits that reliably protect humans and nature from adverse biological effects of electromagnetic fields. Any further expansion of wireless technologies is irresponsible.

3. Prefer wired solutions for home use and public institutions, especially at preschools, schools, colleges, universities, nursing homes, and hospitals.

4. Cutback and reprogram continuously emitting devices such as cordless phones, wireless Internet access (Wi-Fi), and wireless smart meters so that they only operate and emit radio-frequency radiation on demand when being used.

5. Provide special protection for children and adolescents: Children below the age of 8 should not use cell phones and cordless phones; children and adolescents between the ages 8 and 16 should also not use cell phones or only use them in the case of an emergency. Devices for mobile and wireless communication for children and adolescents may not be advertised.

6. Attach clearly visible warning labels and safety guidelines for lowering the radiation exposure on cell phones and other wireless devices, including instruction manuals. An important reminder: do not carry a cell phone right next to your body when it is turned on.

7. Identify and clearly mark protected zones for electrohypersensitive people; establish public areas without wireless access or coverage, especially on public transport, similar to smoke-free areas for nonsmokers.

8. Promote the development of communication technologies and electricity use that is more
compatible with health. Prefer wired solutions for home use and public facilities. Expand fiber-optic networks as the foundation of a modern, sustainable, and performance-based technology that meets the ever-increasing demand for higher data transmission rates.

9. Provide government funding for industry-independent research and education that do not dismiss strong scientific and medical findings of potential risks, but rather work to clarify those risks.  

At the same time, we also call on everyone who cares about health and the environment:  Make wise consumer choices and thus help reduce exposure levels. Favor wired communication technologies. Inform yourself and pass this knowledge on to your family, neighbors, friends, and politicians. Get involved and make a difference so that the protection of human health and the environment is not left to and limited by commercial interests.

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