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12 December 2018

Switzerland: Motion 18.3855: "For a better consideration of health in the mobile telephony sector (II)"

Read here the Federal Council's opinion on this motion (18.3856) which ends with the words, "The motion would unnecessarily restrict the mandate given to the working group charged with analyzing the needs and risks associated with the installation of 5G networks. From the Federal Council's point of view, this motion would run counter to the intended objective" and therefore, the Federal Council proposes to reject the motion. The Federal Council also proposes to reject motion 18.3855 on the same subject, citing the same opinion.

But as we said, there are reasons for hope.  Theo Wirth made this comment on the article, "BR beantwortet Vorstösse": "With Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard, this questionable answer from the Federal Council was to be expected. We hope that the new Federal Councillor [Simonetta Sommaruga] will achieve a more independent assessment of the dangers of electrosmog. Hope dies last."

Opinion and proposal of the Federal Council of 21 November 2018

The Federal Council considers that good mobile phone coverage and access to mobile Internet are essential for Switzerland's economic development. It therefore promotes the digitization of society and the economy and considers that, to achieve this, powerful mobile phone networks (5G) are essential. At the same time, it is necessary to ensure that the health of the population is protected from the harmful effects of radiation resulting from the use of these technologies. In this respect, the Federal Council stresses the importance of the precautionary principle enshrined in the Environmental Protection Act (EPL; SR 814.01).

The EPA defines the conditions to be met with regard to the radiation generated by the mobile telephony infrastructure in order to ensure that the health of the population is protected (arts. 11 to 14). Emissions are limited as a preventive measure to the extent that the state of the art and operating conditions allow, and as long as it is economically viable (Art. 11 para. 2). Damage to health must be avoided (art. 11 (3)).

Today, mobile telephony is about to move to the next generation, 5G. For this reason, the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications has set up a working group to analyse the needs and risks associated with the installation of 5G networks and to present a report with recommendations by the end of 2019. In particular, the report should make recommendations on the future stages of mobile telephony, in the short and long term, taking into account the interests of protection and use. The Federal Office for the Environment leads this working group.

The motion would unnecessarily restrict the mandate of the working group, which, in the Federal Council's view, would run counter to the objective.

The Federal Council proposes to reject the motion.

18.3855: MOTION:  For a better consideration of health in the mobile telephony sector (II)

This is an unofficial translation from French.

Submitted by:
ESTERMANN YVETTE on 26 September 2018 to the National Council, Swiss Parliament

Status of deliberations: Not yet dealt with by the Council


The Federal Council is responsible for ensuring that the following accompanying measures are taken in the event of a change of direction  in the mobile telephony sector.

The Federal Law on Protection against the Dangers of Non-Ionizing Radiation and Sound (LRNIS) stipulates that the health risks to humans and animals must be clearly indicated. In this respect, particular emphasis should be placed on the fundamental rights of respect for the home and private sphere (art. 13, para. 1), and also on physical and psychological integrity and freedom of movement (art. 10, para. 2). The damages caused by mobile telephony require clear regulation, based on the principle of causality, according to which injured parties and persons seeking advice should now only be advised by neutral persons.  Similar to the Gene Technology Act, the LRNIS is reflected in the LPE [Federal Act on the Protection of the Environment], Cst. [Federal Constitution] and CP [Swiss Criminal Code].

According to art. 65, para. 1, of the Swiss Constitution, relevant data on the health of the population must be collected in relation to radiation generated by mobile telephony and possible electrosensitivity.

Therefore, it is necessary to explain to the public, honestly and thoroughly, not only the potential health hazards of electromagnetic fields, but also the appropriate protective measures. All electronic devices will now have to be equipped with warning labels containing all relevant information.

While it is true that digital technology is our future, we expect the authorities to support the change in technological direction, particularly in terms of legislation, health and education.

a. According to administrative judge Bernd I. Budzinski ("Von der Versorgung ohne Auftrag zur Bestrahlung ohne Gesetz" [from serving without a mandate to emitting radiation in the absence of a law]), limit values are neither legal grounds nor a reason for anyone to force the population to be subject to radiation indoors. The Ordinance on Protection against Non-Ionizing Radiation (ORNI), in force since February 2000, only sets limit values, not to mention the fact that the LPE [Federal Act on the Protection of the Environment] does not regulate non-ionizing radiation and electromagnetic fields at all. The above-mentioned fundamental rights are no longer respected for hundreds of thousands of people in Switzerland alone.

Due to the threat scenario, insurers have denied mobile operators the possibility to take out liability insurance. This situation has increased legal uncertainty and the trend towards health denial.

b. Therefore, the collection of health data, in particular the conducting of a population survey on the symptoms of electrosensitivity, and also the provision of information to people of all ages and professions, are among the essential measures to bring about a change in direction aimed at making mobile telephony respectful of health.


Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC)


National Council




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