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15 November 2016

Switzerland: Increase in Limit Values for Mobile Phone Installations: Letter to the Council of States

Photo:  Sander van der Wel:
Bury your head in the sand
Easing of Swiss norms - the ignorance of our elected officials
ARA (alerte.ch), 15 November 2016 (translated by the Editor of "Towards Better Health")

During its winter session [on 8 December 2016] the Council of States will vote on easing of Swiss norms.  Unfortunately, our elected officials are largely ignorant about the health risks posed by the uncontrolled increase in electromagnetic pollution.  These last weeks, many voices from individuals as well as organizations have been raised against this easing.  On 15 November 2016, our association ARA sent the following letter in French and in German to all members of the Council of States.  The umbrella association, Electrosmog Switzerland and Liechtenstein which oversees 21 organizations fighting actively against electrosmog, has done the same.

Morges, 15 November 2016

Motion 16.3007 concerning increase in limit values of mobile phone installations

Madame, Sir,

On 16 June 2016, the National Council adopted by 96 to 89 votes and three abstentions the amendment to the Ordinance on limit values for non-ionizing radiation, an easing of the norms in place that would lower protection of the population. We draw your attention to the increase in the number of independent scientific studies mentioning the danger of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation emitted by telecommunication devices (mobile phones, Wi-Fi, antennas, etc.). 

These studies call for application of the precautionary principle because this radiation can promote or trigger many neurological, immune, hormonal, and cardiovascular disorders as well as degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and cancer. The number of persons suffering from electrohypersensitivity (EHS) is constantly increasing although their very disabling situation is little known.  This is because on the one hand, there are still no specific and systematic statistics being gathered by our authorities and on the other, these persons are often obliged to live in seclusion, frequently victims of the widespread belief that their disorder is unproven.

The "reduction of the number of antennas through adaptation of limit values" requested in the above-cited motion means in plain language, that without necessarily increasing the number of antennas and in order to save on installation and management costs, the operators would increase the power thanks to easing of limit values imposed by the Ordinance relating to Protection from Non-Ionizing Radiation (ONIR).  This Ordinance is weakly binding, not sufficiently protective against chronic exposures, and not exemplary at the international level.

In effect, ONIR regulates the level of emissions (radiation emitted by a single installation) but not the total level of immissions (all the radiation present in a given location).  This means that even if one installation emits - according to the norm - at 6 V/m maximum, a pre-school, for example, located nearby can receive an accumulation of emissions from all the surrounding installations, exceeding the installation limits of ONIR which, according to the most recent studies, are already two orders of magnitude too high to guarantee long-term health.

The Federal Constitution protects citizens from harm to health.  Yet this protection is not assured in this situation:  ONIR only sets the limit values for emission of fixed installations.  The rapid and unchecked increase of mobile emitters and other devices already very significantly jeopardizes the population, particularly the weakest members such as children and persons at risk.

In their press release of 7 June 2016, Doctors for the Protection of the Environment (MfE) as well as the Swiss Union of Farmers, the Swiss Association of Property Owners, and HabitatDurable requested the Parliament to refuse motion 16.3007 relating to increase in limit values of mobile phone installations, 

The World Health Organization (WHO) classified radiofrequencies as possibly carcinogenic to humans in 2011.  This fully applies to mobile telephony, contrary to what the Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard wrongly stated last June.

We therefore consider, as your responsibility as a committed elected official, that it is important and necessary that you envisage first and foremost alternative solutions allowing response to the modern requirements of communication, without increasing the power of relay antennas.  Common welfare and public health dictate encouraging the development and use of devices respectful of the health of the population.  Technological solutions moving in this direction already exist.

Thus, withn the framework of decisions that you will subsequently take, we urge you to refuse all easing of limit values imposed by ONIR.  For your information, the Association Romande Alerte (aux ondes électromagnétiques) is a member of the Umbrella Association Electrosmog Switzerland and Liechtenstein (Dachverband Elektrosmog Schweiz und Liechtenstein) which oversees 21 non-governmental organizations actively fighting against the uncontrolled proliferation of electromagnetic waves.

In the hopes of contributing to a better understanding of this important public health issue, we have the honor to be, yours faithfully,

Claudine Dind
Local Councillor
Former Deputy
Secretary ARA

Daniel Favre
Dr. phil.nat
President ARA

- Brochure "Stop Électrosmog" (in French)
- German version of this letter
- Brochure "Elektrosensibilität kann alle treffen" (in German)

Download this lettre en français (pdf)
Download this lettre en allemand (pdf)

Original letter in French:

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