European Leaders Recommend Banning Cell Phones and WiFi in Schools


On April 11, 2011, a committee of the Council of Europe unanimously adopted a resolution calling for immediate action to protect the public from the harmful effects of cell phones, WiFi, baby monitors, and other wireless technologies. The resolution will be considered for adoption by the council’s full Parliamentary Assembly on May 27.

Founded in 1949, the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states, is separate from and larger than the European Union.  Its purpose is to promote cooperation among all countries of Europe in the areas of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. Though the Council of Europe cannot impose its will on governments, it is highly influential in policy-making, and its decisions have often been adopted through conventions and treaties.The European Court of Human Rights, established in 1950, is part of the Council of Europe.

In May 2009 the Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs was assigned to look into “The potential dangers of electromagnetic fields and their effect on the environment.” The committee is composed of 84 Members of Parliament from member states. After two years of investigation, the committee has issued its report and adopted a resolution.

The resolution recommends that:

  • Electrosensitive persons be protected by special measures, including the creation of “wave-free areas not covered by the wireless network.
  • Mobile phones, cordless phones, WiFi devices and baby monitors be clearly labeled to indicate the presence of microwave radiation.
  • Mobile phones, cordless phones and WiFi systems be banned from classrooms and schools.
  • Zoning measures be introduced to keep high-voltage power lines at a safe distance from dwellings.
  • The location of cell towers and WiMax antennas be determined in consultation with local residents and associations of concerned citizens.

The accompanying report summarizes the existing science. It states:

    1. Recent studies “clearly show the effects of mobile telephony microwaves on plant genes.”
      Electromagnetic waves interfere with navigation and communication in certain animals and insects. This may be one of the major causes of whales being washed up on beaches or colony collapse disorder in honeybees.
    2. Effects on livestock — cows, horses, geese, etc. — have been observed following the installation of cell towers nearby. These effects include deformed calves, cataracts, and fertility problems.
    3. Recent research was performed on more than 200 people with electrosensitivity. The studies, which involved objective clinical tests done at the Association for Research and Treatments Against Cancer, proved that this syndrome does exist, with sensitivity to electromagnetic fields across the whole electromagnetic spectrum, and that the affected people “are not feigning illness or suffering from psychiatric disorders.”
    4. Epidemiological and clinical studies show that after relay antennas are built, people who live nearby develop sleep disorders, headaches, blood pressure problems, dizziness, skin disorders, allergies, concentration problems, and impaired attention and hyperactivity of children. Changes in stress hormones have been measured in urine samples.
    5. The ICNIRP, the European body that sets exposure standards for electromagnetic fields, is “suspected of having rather close links with the industries whose expansion is shaped by recommendations for maximum threshold values.”
    6. “33% of studies funded by industrial concerns conclude that exposure to mobile telephone radio frequencies has an effect on our organism. That figure rises to over 80% in studies carried out with public funding.” This is a “manifestly unacceptable situation pointing to conflicts of interest which undermine the integrity, the genuine independence and the objectivity of scientific research.”
    7. “There must no longer be situations where whistleblowers are discriminated against and renowned scientists with critical opinions are excluded when experts are selected to sit on expert committees or no longer receive funding for their research.”

The Cellular Phone Task Force provides the document here.

Scientific studies showing negative effects of microwave frequencies on plants, insects, wildlife, farm animals, and humans “are very numerous indeed,” numbering in the thousands.

The Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly meets in Kiev on May 27. It will consider whether to adopt the committee’s resolution as a resolution of the full Council of Europe.