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09 June 2019

Switzerland: 19.3211 INTERPELLATION Submitted by Frédéric Borloz: Public spaces: the creation of protected areas from electromagnetic fields could facilitate access by hypersensitive people

19.3211 INTERPELLATION : Public spaces: the creation of protected areas from electromagnetic fields could facilitate access by hypersensitive people

UPDATE: Federal Council Opinion of 29 May 2019:
(unofficial translation)

The author of the interpellation assumes that the radiation of mobile telephony, as it is now present in the environment and legally permissible, is clearly harmful to human beings. In its report of 25 February 2015 on mobile telephony networks adapted to future requirements, the Federal Council stated that warming of the body's tissues is the only scientifically proven harmful effect on humans due to high frequency radiation. However, this effect is excluded if the emission limit values defined in the Ordinance on Protection against Non-Ionising Radiation (ORNI; SR 814.710) are complied with. Research has led to more or less well-documented observations showing that mobile phone radiation can have other biological effects that cannot be attributed to this warming. Scientific studies are carried out to determine whether they are dangerous to health. Based on the findings of surveys on mobile phone use, the World Health Organization has classified high frequency radiation as potentially carcinogenic to humans. At the same time, it found that research on the population's exposure to fixed transmitter stations, which have much lower radiation levels, does not reveal an increased risk of cancer. However, the organization recognizes that there is no relevant long-term study.

The Federal Council has taken these gray areas into account: it wishes to set up, as part of the latest revision of ORNI, a national monitoring of non-ionizing radiation and radiation from other sources. In addition, the Federal Office for the Environment must regularly provide information on the state of knowledge regarding the effects of radiation on man and the environment. The current ORNI is based on the precautionary principle of the Environmental Protection Act (SR 814.01) and includes stricter installation limit values for sensitive areas (homes, schools, hospitals, offices, playgrounds, etc.) in order to maintain low long-term exposure.

The population is therefore protected against the proven harmful effects of mobile phone antenna radiation, which is limited in a preventive manner within the framework of legal provisions to avoid any uncertain health risks. In view of these facts, the Federal Council does not consider it appropriate to create zones protected from electromagnetic fields in public buildings (waiting rooms in stations, for example), as requested by the author of the interpellation.

Similar claims have been made several times, motivated by people sensitive to electromagnetic radiation and whose quality of life or health has been affected by this phenomenon. Some of these people are therefore looking for the least exposed areas possible, which is becoming increasingly difficult due to the increasing density of antennas. This phenomenon, called "electrosensitivity", remains unclear and is not based on any recognized medical diagnosis. Experience shows that the people affected have real health problems and suffer from them; however, the causes of these problems are not clear and no cause-and-effect relationship has yet been established with electromagnetic radiation.

In view of the above, the State intervention required in the interpellation seems disproportionate. The situation is different in smoke-free areas, as the harmfulness of passive smoke has been clearly established - unlike the radiation of mobile phones. If the need for areas with no or low radiation is identified, the Federal Council considers that it would currently be more appropriate for the private sector to build them. For example, there is a building in Zurich in which the apartments have been specially designed to be protected from environmental effects and electromagnetic radiation. Three similar buildings, with a total capacity of 27 apartments, are currently under construction in Schmitten (FR).

19.3211 INTERPELLATION: Public spaces: the creation of protected areas from electromagnetic fields could facilitate access by hypersensitive people

Submitted by : BORLOZ FRÉDÉRIC

Liberal-radical group

PLR. Liberal Radicals

Submission date : 21 March 2019
Submitted to the National Council

State of deliberations: Not yet dealt with by the Council


Does the Federal Council consider that, taking into account the increasing number of people complaining of hypersensitivity to waves, the increasing number of doctors and scientists also declaring that this situation represents a major danger to public health, even if our current scientific knowledge remains incomplete, could measures to protect against non-ionizing radiation in public spaces be a partial response to this problem?


Waves are now part of our daily lives, especially since the arrival of mobile phones. At a time when we are talking about the introduction of 5G, it is becoming relevant to assess whether this permanent exposure of our citizens does not present an excessive risk to health. For many years, more and more people have been complaining that they cannot tolerate magnetic waves. To date, there is little scientific evidence demonstrating this hypersensitivity and its health consequences. This will undoubtedly take a long time, even as testimonies of intolerance continue to multiply. Requests for precautionary measures are also increasing. A petition that has collected some 26,000 signatures to date calls for a moratorium on the introduction of 5G.

In the private sector, it is easy to protect yourself from non-ionizing radiation by limiting, for example, your own use of transmitters. On the other hand, in public spaces, where the density of the waves is as high as that of people, it is impossible to avoid exposure. Stations and airports are particularly affected.

Therefore, following the example of the non-smoking areas proposed at the time when "everyone smoked", I propose to carry out tests to create small areas, for example waiting rooms, hermetically sealed to waves. It seems unrealistic to me to isolate portions of the territory without waves (as requested in petition 18.2002). But clearly delineated and identified public places would undoubtedly represent a serious response to the growing concerns of an increasing number of citizens about overexposure to radiation.






National Council


Spatial planning and housing, Media and communication, Health, Transport


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