Die Diskussion um die neue Mobilfunktechnologie 5G hat eine neue Dimension erreicht. Dies kommt nicht von ungefähr: Die drei Mobilfunkbetreiber Swisscom, Sunrise und Salt haben in den vergangenen drei Monaten über dreihundert Baugesuche für 5G-Antennen eingereicht. Der Widerstand gegen 5G wächst indessen in allen Regionen des Landes stark an, und damit auch die Einsprachen gegen 5G-Baugesuche. Der Verein «Schutz vor Strahlung» hat nun eine Baurechtsabteilung geschaffen, um die Bevölkerung bei Einsprachen zu unterstützen.
Seit Juni 2019 wurden gegen etwa 98% aller Baugesuche für 5G-Antennen Einsprache erhoben. Wir haben Meldungen von diversen Einsprechergruppen, dass sie gegen 320 Baugesuche für 5G-Antennen Einsprache erhoben haben. Diese lokal tätigen Gruppen bilden sich aus durchschnittlich 65 Einsprechern. Somit haben seit Juni über 20‘000 Personen Einsprache gegen 5G-Antennen erhoben. Die Bevölkerung wird in allen Landesteilen mit 5G konfrontiert. Nun hat sie über das Mittel von Einsprachen ein faktisches 5G-Moratorium herbeigeführt. Dies zeigt eine klare Ablehnung der schweizer Bevölkerung gegen 5G.
Keine schützenden Leitplanken
Adaptive 5G-Antennen können bis heute nicht vollständig kontrolliert werden. Die Ämter und Abteilungen für Umwelt der einzelnen Kantone haben die Aufgabe, die Strahlung von Antennen zu prognostizieren, sie vor Ort zu kontrollieren und das Qualitätssicherungssystem regelmässig nachzuprüfen. Bei adaptiven 5G-Antennen ist eine Einschätzung der Strahlung aber nicht möglich, weil diese innert Sekundenbruchteilen ihre Richtung ändern. Eine behördliche Kontrolle vor Ort aktuell auch nicht möglich, weil man 5G-Antennen mit den heutigen Messgeräten gar nicht messen kann. Im heutigen Qualitätssicherungssystem werden die neuartigen Antennen nicht erfasst und entziehen sich somit jeglicher Kontrolle.
Um mehr Daten schneller zu übertragen, fokussieren 5G-Antennen die Sendeenergie auf eine kleine Fläche. Folglich nimmt die Strahlung zwischen der Antenne und der bestrahlten Fläche stark zu. Befindet man sich in einem Antennenstrahl, können leichte bis schwere Gesundheitsschäden entstehen. Kinder sind hierbei besonders gefährdet, da die noch dünne Schädeldecke die Strahlung tiefer eindringen lässt als bei Erwachsenen. Verantwortliche der kantonalen Umweltämter sprechen auch von gefährlichen Situationen für Menschen mit Herzschrittmachern. Ebenso kann es bei Tankstellen oder Wasserstofftanks zu Funkenbildung und damit zu Bränden kommen. Vor all diesen Folgen schützen uns die aktuellen Grenzwerte, wohingegen 5G-Antennen sie regelmässig überschreiten werden.
Bis heute mussten Betreiber von Mobilfunkanlagen in ihren Baugesuchen jeweils die maximale Sendeleistung der geplanten Antenne angeben. Daraus lies sich berechnen, ob die geltenden Grenzwerte eingehalten werden oder nicht. Für adaptive 5G-Antennen müssen seit dem 1. Juni 2019 plötzlich keine Maximalwerte mehr angegeben werden. Die Gesuchsteller können einen anderen Wert angeben, z.B. den Durchschnittswert. So werden die gesetzlichen Grenzwerte auf dem Papier zwar eingehalten, aber niemals in der Praxis. Zum Vergleich: Auf der Autobahn dürfen neu durchschnittlich 120 km/h gefahren werden.
Zeit für Abklärungen ist vorhanden
Plastiksäcke werden mit grossen Warnhinweisen bedruckt, Medikamente werden jahrelang geprüft, und die Haltung von Kühen ist bis ins kleinste Detail geregelt. Bei adaptiven 5G-Antennen gelten offensichtlich andere Regeln. Es gibt bis heute keine Studien zu den Frequenzen um 3’600 MHz und auch nicht zu den extremen Strahlungsschwankungen von keulenschwingenden 5G-Antennen. Bis ein Produkt mit solch enormen Risiken eingeführt werden kann, braucht es deutlich mehr Zeit und Forschungsarbeit. Es entspricht unseren Schweizer Gepflogenheiten, dass die Bevölkerung bei so grossen Veränderungen vorab sorgfältig informiert wird und auch mitbestimmen kann.
Latest developments in the Phonegate scandal, included in the 5 September revised text:
French ministerial decree announces recall and ban on placing on the market and putting into service of two new smartphones
FCC proposes to maintain current radiofrequency exposure standards for handheld devices, dating from 1996, this rule also applying to 5G phones and infrastructure
Italy launches awareness campaign on the environmental and health impacts of mobile phone use in answer to the January 2019 court decision
Chicago Tribune investigation of testing of popular cell phones for radiofrequency radiation
Launch of class action lawsuit against Apple and Samsung in the United States.
Time to Wake Up to the Global Public Health Issue of Phonegate by Meris Michaels, 23 May 2019 – Revised 5 September 2019
For over 20 years, cell phone users have been knowingly misled about their true levels of exposure to radiofrequency (RF) waves under real conditions of use in contact with the body. Consumers have been doubly misled by not having been informed by the public authorities to keep the phone away from the body.
This issue concerns all of us and those we love. Most of us have cell phones. We hold them against our heads, keep them switched on in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked in a bra. Many of us are unaware that cell phone manufacturers are testing phones at a certain distance from the body, not in the ways that most of us use them, touching the body. These same manufacturers warn us to keep the phone at a distance from the body.
The authorities have been lax in implementing public health campaigns and recommendations to reduce RF exposure, especially regarding children, pregnant women and medically sensitive populations who are more vulnerable to these waves.
1-Measurements of exposure to cell phone waves exceed regulatory thresholds, posing a risk to the health and safety of billions of users
For over 20 years, cell phone users have been misled about the true levels of exposure
Most of us are not aware or sufficiently informed that manufacturers are testing cell phones at a certain distance from the body, not in the ways that most of us use them. The international NGO, Phonegate Alert Association, now has proof that for over 20 years, manufacturers have been placing cell phones on the market under deceptive conditions. Both the manufacturers and regulators have not taken into account the real conditions of use in the calculation of the SAR (Specific Absorption Rate, the indicator used to measure the rate of radiofrequency energy absorbed by the body when using a wireless device). The SAR, expressed in watts per kilogram (W/kg), is set to protect cell phone users from overheating or thermal effects. It is well established that thermal effects can be harmful to health. Many cell phones placed on the market exceed the maximum SAR regulatory threshold. This health and industrial scandal is called “Phonegate”.
French national agency conducts SAR tests on cell phones in contact with the body
In July 2016, a scientific report was published by the French National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES), entitled, “Exposure to Radiofrequencies and Child Health”. The ANSES Report highlighted the results of the French National Frequencies Agency (ANFR) 2015 measurement tests of 95 mobile phones tested in body contact positions – meaning, with no separation distance. ANSES announced that 9 out of 10 mobile phones tested in contact with the skin exceeded the regulatory threshold of 2 W/kg, some of them more than three times.
Upon discovery of this information, French physician Dr. Marc Arazi and now the Phonegate Alert Association, took legal action to get ANFR to make public, in June 2017 and March 2018, data concerning the SAR tests carried out in contact with the body on 454 cell phones. The tests revealed that 9 out of 10 cell phones checked in 2015 and 20% of phones tested in France in the first half of 2018 exceed the SAR trunk value. These results were kept secret from consumers. The test results of some phones were as high as more than 20 times the manufacturer’s previously reported SAR levels. Phonegate Alert is continuing its legal actions to obtain the publication of new data. 1
The phones tested by ANFR are among the most popular brands used by consumers.
Of 21 cell phone models, 17 have been withdrawn from the market or updated and 9 are the subject of class actions/criminal complaints in France
Due to the pressure of Phonegate’s action, since April 2018, 17 cell phone models have been withdrawn from the market or updated for exceeding the SAR threshold. Four mobile phones were withdrawn, including the Hapi 30 (affecting nearly 100,000 consumers in France), and 13 others updated. Recently, tests carried out on the Redmi Note 5 manufactured by the Chinese company Xiaomi, revealed that the SAR head exceeded the regulatory value. In April 2019, ANFR issued press releases stating that the Nokia 5 and Nokia 3 cell phones exceed the SAR trunk value. Their software has been updated by the manufacturer. On 16 July 2019, ANFR announced that the Nokia 6.1 (TA-1043) smartphone exceeded the SAR trunk value. HMD GLOBAL OY opted for an update of the phone.
In a press release published on 25 July 2019, ANFR) announced the withdrawal of two new smartphones marketed by the Malaysian company LEAGOO INTELLIGENCE CO. and by the Romanian company S.C. VISUAL FAN SRL. The test controls of the SAR trunk of these phones carried out in August and October 2018 by an approved laboratory showed a SAR of 2.39 W/kg for the LEAGOO S8 phone and 4.6 W/kg for the ALLVIEW X4 SOUL MINI S phone. A ministerial decree of 12 July 2019, published in the Journal officiel de la République française on 20 July 2019, now prohibits the placing on the market and putting into service of these two phones. This is the first time such a procedure has been used.
ANFR had given notice to the two companies to take all necessary measures to put an end to the non-compliance of these devices. In the absence of a response from the companies, ANFR decided to proceed with the withdrawal and recall of the two phones concerned from the market.
Nine cell phone models are the subject of class actions/criminal complaints in France.
Since the transposition into French law of the European Radio Equipment Directive (RED) in June 2017 establishing a regulatory framework for placing radio equipment on the market, ANFR can impose administrative sanctions in the event of devices exceeding the SAR threshold including administrative fines (€ 7,500 for a legal entity), requests for withdrawal from the market and recall of devices already purchased.
Subject of class action/criminal complaint
250 cell phone models posing a risk to users’ health continue to be sold
The ANFR data reveal that 250 cell phone models exceed the regulatory limits and must be removed from the market. These phones continue to be sold not only in France and Europe but also in many other countries. It is time that the European and international authorities take action to protect the health of users. 2
Cell phone regulations outdated in all countries of the world
In all countries of the world, the cell phone regulations are outdated.
Manufacturers are not required to conduct cell phone tests in direct body positions. Most have been testing between 15-25 mm from the body. New European legislation went into effect in 2017, obliging manufacturers to test SAR extremities (hands, feet, wrists, ankles) at 0 mm. For the trunk (torso, legs, arms), phones may be tested a few millimeters from the skin. The public authorities are largely remiss in informing the population. The French State merely communicates the risk of holding a mobile phone against the ear by recommending the use of a hands-free kit “to limit exposure of the head to radio emissions during communications”. French legislation only requires manufacturers to make public the SAR head value at the point of sale as well as in advertisements. The recommendation for the use of a hands-free kit or headset must appear on the packaging of any cell phone sold.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allows manufacturers to test cell phones at a distance of 10 mm from the body. The SAR standards have not been updated since 1996.
On 12 May 2015, Berkeley, California, became the first city in the U.S. to require cell phone retailers to provide an information fact sheet to all those who purchase a new phone. The fact sheet informs buyers to read the user manual to learn the cell phone’s minimum separation distance from the body. The text states:
“The City of Berkeley requires that you be provided the following notice: To assure safety, the Federal Government requires that cell phones meet radio frequency (RF) exposure guidelines. If you carry or use your phone in pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is ON and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF radiation. Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information about how to use your phone safely.”
Polls reveal large number of users unaware of cell phone safety warnings
A highly respected poll of Berkeley residents conducted in April 2015 found that while 74% of respondents, including children, carried their phones in a pants or shirt pocket with the phone switched on – considered close contact – 66% were unaware that cell phone manufacturers recommend the products be carried away from the body or used with hands-free devices.
An independent survey by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) of more than 11,000 Canadians found that 80% were unaware of manufacturers stating the separation distance in user manuals and cell phones, and 67% admitted to carrying the phone against their bodies. An Australian study found that 25% of women have carried their cell phone tucked in their bra.
Europe has different cell phone SAR limits than the United States and Canada. The U.S. SAR maximum limits, adopted by the FCC in 1996, are 20% more stringent than those of France – 1.6 W/kg vs. 2.0 W/kg. Therefore, the results from the ANFR testing would likely be much worse for U.S. compliant phones. Also, the European SAR limit averages over 10 grams of tissue and an exposure time for the SAR limbs of 30 minutes and the U.S. averages over 1 gram of tissue and an exposure limit of 6 minutes. Averaging over a larger volume, such as the 10 gram volume, allows much higher peak radiation values, such as are at the tissue locations closest to the cell phone. 3
In March 2018, Dr. Arazi and Dr. Devra Davis, President of the Environmental Health Trust, jointly addressed a letter to the FCC, asking for a revision of the 1996 standards, taking into account the documentation from France and Europe on SAR standards and users’ overexposure to radiofrequency fields emitted by cell phones, and recommending measures to better protect users’ health, especially children. The current SAR test system protocols do not take into account the unique physiology of children, who have smaller heads and thinner skulls than adults, allowing RF energy to penetrate more deeply into their brains. 4
The letter also stressed the importance of developing and implementing public health campaigns and recommendations to reduce exposure directed primarily at parents, children, pregnant women and medically sensitive populations.
The FCC has not replied to this letter.
The regulatory and public health agencies must take responsibility for protecting the population from harm. Phonegate Alert is working with scientists, researchers and other organizations to revise testing procedures, including taking into account the smaller size of children.
FCC maintains its existing radiofrequency limits dating from 1996
After six years of study, the FCC announced in a press release dated 8 August 2019 that it was « appropriate to maintain the existing radiofrequency limits, which are among the most stringent in the world for cell phones ». The rules, which were first adopted in 1996, are the only ones governing cell phone exposures in the U.S.
The FCC officials said at a press briefing that scientific evidence to date indicates that, in terms of causing health effects, 5G is no different from any other cellular technology, including 4G or 3G. The higher-frequency signals (millimeter waves) used to deliver 5G also pose no health risk, they said, pointing out that the existing RF exposure guidelines also apply to 5G.
It is recalled that during the 7 February 2019 Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing on the future of 5G technology and its impact on the American people and economy, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal raised concerns about the lack of scientific research and data on the potential health risks of 5G technology. « Wireless carriers concede they are not aware of any independent scientific studies on the safety of 5G technologies.
There has been limited research on the subject, and the FCC has thus far failed to adequately explain how they have determined 5G is safe.
Chicago Tribune requests testing of popular cell phones for radiofrequency radiation
On 21 August 2019, the Chicago Tribune published an article, “We tested popular cellphones for radiofrequency radiation. Now the FCC is investigating”, written by investigative journalist Sam Roe, on the results of independent testing of 11 of the most popular cell phone models, including Apple’s iPhone 7 and 8, Korean manufacturer Samsung’s Galaxy S8, S9, J3 and Motorola’s Motoe5 Play. 5
Roe had contacted Dr. Arazi more than a year ago when he discovered information about the Phonegate industrial and health scandal following the results obtained from the tests carried out by ANFR.
The tests by the Chicago Tribune were conducted by RF Exposure Lab, a laboratory based in San Marcos, California, which is recognized by the FCC as being accredited to test radiofrequency radiation from electronic devices.
As in the case of the ANFR tests, the tests were carried out at the FCC’s regulatory distance, between 10 and 15 mm from the skin, with the exception of Apple, which has been testing its iPhone at 5 mm since 2014, and also at a more realistic distance corresponding to our uses (pockets), i.e. 2 mm.
The results are just as worrying as the ones revealed three years ago by Dr. Arazi and the Phonegate Alert Association. The iPhone 7, tested at 5 mm, far exceeds the U.S. regulatory limit (1.6W/kg for 1gr of tissue), i.e. 2.6 W/kg, 2.81 W/kg, and 2.50 W/kg.
As for the three Samsung phones, SAR levels soared with a Galaxy S8 measurement more than 5 times the regulatory limit (8.22 W/kg), measurement taken at a distance of 2 mm from the skin.
For the Motorola e5 Play, the SAR is just as high, exceeding the regulatory limit by four times.
In response to the results of the test reports, the FCC is taking the rare step of conducting its own testing over the next few months to answer the many questions raised by the publication of these SAR measurements.
The Chicago Tribune is the first major American media to take on the Phonegate affair.
2-Scientific evidence of health effects due to exposure to radiofrequency radiation
National Toxicology Program (NTP) study results
Both Dr. Arazi, as president of the Phonegate Alert Association, and Dr. Davis, President of the Environmental Health Trust, were among the speakers who provided public comments in person at the NTP Peer Review in Durham, NC, in March 2018. The final peer-reviewed NTP reports on rats and mice exposed to whole-body radiofrequency radiation used by cell phones confirmed “clear evidence” of an association between cell phone radiation and heart tumors (malignant schwannomas) in male rats; some evidence of tumors (malignant gliomas) in the brains of male rats; and some evidence of tumors in the adrenal glands of male rats. The speakers recalled, by bringing undeniable proof that, contrary to what was asserted by the NTP scientist team, human beings have been and still are much more exposed to the RF waves of their cell phones than the rodents used for this study.
Dr. Ronald L. Melnick, who served as a toxicologist for more than 28 years at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Toxicology Program, and led the design of the NTP carcinogenicity studies of cell phone RF radiation in rodents, comments on the results of this study: 6
“Because of widespread use of cell phones, even a small increase in cancer would have a serious public health impact.
“Precautionary principles should be promoted by health and regulatory agencies, especially for children and pregnant women. Cancer risks may be greater for children than adults due to increased penetration of cell phone radiation within the brains of children and because the developing nervous system is more susceptible to tissue damaging agents.
“We should no longer assume that any current or future wireless technology, including 5G, is safe without adequate testing.
IEEE scientific journal publishes analysis of ANFR data
On 18 April 2019, a new analysis of the French government data was published online in IEEE Access, a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The analysis by Professor Om Gandhi, “Microwave Emissions From Cell Phones Exceed Safety Limits in Europe and the US When Touching the Body”, examined ANFR’s data on 450 cell phone models, indicating that phones can emit 11 times over the U.S. FCC limit and 3 times over French limits in 9 out of 10 phones tested. 7
Microwave Emissions From Cell Phones Exceed Safety Limits in Europe and the US When Touching the Body by Om Gandhi – published 11 April 2019
TABLE 1 SARs in W/kg Measured for Some Representative Telephones Held Against the Flat Phantom Model of the Body at Manufacturer-Suggested Distances D and at Distances of 5 and 0 mm as for Actual Use by Consumers (Taken From ANFR Test Report)
Radiofrequency waves among agents proposed for reassessment by IARC with high priority
An article in the scientific journal, “The Lancet”, dated 17 April 2019, published the list of agents whose carcinogenicity is proposed to be assessed or reassessed during the period 2020-2024 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO). In June 2011, IARC decided to place radiofrequency waves in class “2B”, “possibly carcinogenic to humans”, on the basis of an increased risk of glioma, a type of malignant brain cancer associated with cell phone use.
After publication of numerous studies, including the recent NTP study in November 2018, experts considered that RF waves should be reassessed with high priority. Some scientists are even calling for a classification in group 1: “carcinogenic”. Professor Anthony Miller, former Senior Epidemiologist for the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and former Director of the Epidemiology Unit at the National Cancer Institute of Canada, explained in August 2017 at a scientific meeting on Phonegate in Jackson Hole (USA) organized by the Environmental Health Trust: “Evidence that wireless is carcinogenic has become more numerous and can no longer be ignored”. Professor Miller added that the evidence published since 2011 meets the requirements to reclassify radio frequency radiation as a ‘Group 1: carcinogenic to humans’ agent.” 8
Court orders Italian Government to adopt national information campaign on health and environmental risks associated with use of cell phones
In mid-January 2019, a decision of the Administrative Court of Rome ordered the Italian Government to adopt a national information campaign on the health and environmental risks associated with the use of cell and cordless phones. In their arguments, the Italian lawyers relied, among other things, on the data from the test results of ANFR on more than 500 mobile phones, published as part of the Phonegate affair. This case also raises serious questions about the health and environmental consequences of exposure to relay antennas, Wi-Fi, smart meters and 5G. 9
Italy launched its awareness campaign on the environmental and health impacts of mobile phone use on 19 July 2019 in answer to the court decision. 10
Criminal complaint filed against cell phone manufacturer Xiaomi
Due to the actions of Phonegate Alert, on 15 April 2019, a criminal complaint against the Chinese company Xiaomi, the world’s fourth largest cell phone manufacturer, was filed with the Public Prosecutor of Paris. By placing on the market non-compliant cell phones, Xiaomi is being accused of deception, misleading commercial practice and endangering the lives of others.
In addition, ANFR, after having requested in April and May 2018 the recall of the two mobile phone models mentioned above has been favoring a software update solution for several months for all other phones where the SAR threshold has been exceeded.
Not only is it the consumer’s responsibility to make the update in order to reduce the SAR of his phone and not to put himself in danger, but also the capacities of his mobile phone are considerably reduced.11
New criminal complaint filed against HMD GLOBAL OY (NOKIA)
A new complaint is now being filed against the Finnish manufacturer HMD GLOBAL OY which, since the end of 2016, has been marketing NOKIA mobile phones.
In April 2019, ANFR announced, by means of two press releases, that it had asked HMD GLOBAL OY, which markets the Nokia 5 and Nokia 3 (TA-1032DS) smartphones, for a mandatory update following controls that revealed significant exceedances of the SAR “trunk”.
Following the updates, the capacities of these two mobile phones are being considerably reduced, resulting in a degradation of both connectivity to mobile operators’ networks and the throughput level.
The new European regulation (Directive 2014/53/EU) requires since June 2016, with a transitional period of one year until June 2017, measurement of the SAR trunk at a maximum distance of 5mm. Four new smartphone models manufactured by HMD GLOBAL OY (Nokia 1, 2.1, 3.1, and 5.1) were placed on the market from June 2018, in violation of French and European regulations. In order to display low SAR levels, these four models were measured 15mm from the body (instead of 5mm). This 10mm difference will increase the real SAR value, significantly exceeding the regulatory limit for each of the phones concerned. This will have possible consequences for the health of users.
The Finnish company also did not comply with the obligation to provide information in its manuals on the SAR value and the measuring distance.
HMD GLOBAL OY (NOKIA) is therefore accused of:
Misleading commercial practice
Endangering the lives of others
As in the XIAOMI case, the owners and users of the smartphones concerned can assert their rights by joining the collective action launched on the platform « V pour Verdict ». 12
Nokia 6.1 added to class action against HMD GLOBAL OY
On 16 July 2019, ANFR published test results of the NOKIA 6.1 (TA-1043) smartphone marketed by HMD GLOBAL OY, which revealed that the regulatory limits for the SAR trunk had been significantly exceeded with a value of 3.58 W/kg. Furthermore, the manual of the Nokia 6.1 states that the phone was tested by the manufacturer at a distance of 15 mm, violating the European regulatory measurement limit of 5mm. The marketer of the phone, HMD GLOBAL OY has decided to update the phone (lowering the SAR trunk to 1.92 W/kg) in order to meet the European standard of 2.0 W/kg.
V pour Verdict has thus now also launched a class action concerning the Nokia 6.1. The BFS Open DATA database shows that the head and trunk SAR levels of all Nokia models sold on the European market are, before controls, particularly high and give rise to a general suspicion of deception on the part of HMD GLOBAL OY. Attorney Elias Bourran, lawyer at the Paris Bar, will, on behalf of the Phonegate Alert Association, file an additional complaint against the Finnish manufacturer.
Phonegate Alert recommends that all Nokia brand users be particularly vigilant, storing their mobile phones in a location that is as far away from the body as possible (avoid, for example, keeping the phone in a pants pocket) and do not hold it near the ear. 13
Class action lawsuit filed against Apple and Samsung in the United States
Following publication of the Chicago Tribune investigation revealing results of testing of popular cell phones, a class action lawsuit has been filed against Apple and Samsung from consumers who claim that iPhones and Galaxy smartphones emit more radiation than is allowable by law.14
Eleven plaintiffs allege that the cell phones exceed the maximum limit allowed for radiofrequency (RF) radiation exposure. “Defendants market and sell some of the most popular smartphones in the world – including Apple’s iPhones and Samsung’s Galaxy phones – as emitting less RF radiation than that set by law and as being completely safe to carry and use on or in close proximity to the human body,” the Apple class action lawsuit alleges.
In addition, the Apple, Samsung class action lawsuit states that scientific publications have presented evidence that RF radiation exposure has an effect on living creatures below international and national guidelines: “Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans,” the Samsung class action lawsuit states.
The plaintiffs allege that Apple and Samsung market their cell phones on the premise that the devices can always be close to their bodies, such as in a pocket or while holding them in their hands.
The plaintiffs say that, past models of the iPhone had a warning for users to carry their devices at least 10mm away from their body. However, later models did not have such advice to consumers.
The Samsung marketing material for their devices “implies” that carrying or wearing their cellphones close to the body is safe.
The putative Apple Class Members include: “All persons who purchased an iPhone 7, 8, or X for personal or household use in the United States.”
The possible Samsung Class Members include: “All persons who purchased a Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, or J3 for personal or household use in the United States.”
The plaintiffs are represented by Jennie Lee Anderson of Andrus Anderson LLP, Elizabeth A. Fegan and Timothy A. Scott of Fegan Scott LLC and J. Barton Goplerud of Schindler Anderson Goplerud & Weese PC. 15
Each and every one of us can reduce exposure to the RF waves of our cell phones
Public health and regulatory agencies must take the findings of Phonegate into consideration in launching the necessary actions to protect cell phone users’ health.
Most public health agencies do not go far enough with their recommendations on how to reduce users’ exposure. Here are some tips:
Use the cell phone as seldom as possible and keep calls short. When it’s not being used, switch off the phone.
Avoid keeping a phone on one’s body (in a pants or shirt pocket or bra). All users’ guides for cell phones advise keeping the phone at a distance from the body. This warning is also found in the phone itself.
Do not keep a switched-on cell phone on the nightstand or near the head: the radiation emitted interferes with brain waves and can disturb sleep. Do not sleep with the cell phone in the bed.
Favor using speaker mode or a hands-free kit. Attention: an earpiece reduces exposure but does not remove it.
Avoid calling in a car, bus, train. The waves of a cell phone, reflected off the metallic structure, are concentrated in a small space.
Do not passively expose neighbors and children. This advice is particularly applicable to use in enclosed spaces: cars, trains, buses, airplanes.
For pregnant women, do not hold or use a cell phone near the abdomen, do not use a laptop connected to Wi-Fi on the lap. In general, avoid use of cell phones to the greatest extent possible.
For all parents: give your child a cell phone as late as possible – not before age 14. Their brain absorbs more radiation than that of adults.
Above all, remember to keep cell phones away from the body. “Distance is your friend.”
About the Phonegate Alert Association:
The Phonegate Alert Association is an international NGO based in Nogent-sur-Marne, France. Its president is Dr. Marc Arazi.
One of the main goals of the Association is better protection of the health of users of wireless devices worldwide, especially children. The Association is also working on the revision of standards and regulations to increase this protection.
6 “The NTP Cell Phone Study Explained – with Dr. Ron Melnick”, video of presentation made at expert forum, Shrewsbury, MA, March 25, 2019, « Questioning the Safety of Our Children’s Exposure to Wireless Radiation in the Classroom. » https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJfK3gbkmMk
Written by: Martine Vriens, Director of International Legal Affairs for We Are The Evidence, 29 May 2019
On 30 January, 2019, an Italian Court in the city of Monza, Italy ruled that the Acoustic Neuroma brain tumor of an airport employee was caused by exposure to the radiation from a cell phone he used for over 10 years for his work. The court determined that the tumor has permanently incapacitated him, and ruled it to be an occupational disease. PRESS HERE for the Court’s Decision
This is the fourth case in which the courts in Italy determined that an Acoustic Neuroma type brain tumor was caused by a cell phone, and the fifth court to make such ruling as in the first case the court decision was appealed and later confirmed by Italy’s Supreme Court. A Summary of the four cases is in the bottom of this article.
The importance of the decision is not only that it’s another Italian Court decision that establishes the link between brain tumors and exposure to Radio-Frequency/Microwave Radiation that is emitted from cell phones, but also by recognizing that if the exposure to electromagnetic radiation (EMR) was necessary for the purposes of work, the Acoustic Neuroma tumor may be considered an Occupational Disease.
Acoustic Neuroma, also known as Vestibular Schwannoma is a tumor which develops on the main nerve leading from the inner ear to the brain. This nerve influences balance and hearing, and pressure from an acoustic neuroma can cause hearing loss, ringing in the ear, and unsteadiness. Occasionally, it can interfere with brain functioning. It is a schwannoma type of tumor which means it develops on the Schwann cells covering the nerve.
It is important to mention that in the National Toxicology Program study of the US Federal government, the tumors that were found to be caused by exposure to cell phones’ radiation are schwannoma type tumors.tumor
From 1994 to 2010, an airport employee was exposed at his work to high levels of Radio-Frequency and Microwave radiation from a variety of antennas and high-frequency equipment: altitude signal repeaters, weather radars, satellite antennas, and airplane equipment.
In addition, for the purpose of the coordination of tasks which were part of his job in the office, he had to use a lot of Electromagnetic frequencies and radiation emitting devices such as mobile phones, two PCs that were always on, and signal repeaters (GSM and DECT).
Several times the employee and his colleagues reported to the employer that the levels of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and radiation were high and requested that the EMFs and radiation be measured, but they were ignored.
The employee used a Siemens DECT phone, a Nokia and later a Samsung cell phone for more than four hours a day, with phone sessions of up to 45 minutes consecutively and on the left side of his head. In 2010, he was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma.
In 2011, the employee was declared to be permanently unfit for work and his disability was determined to be 68%. In 2014, he applied to INAIL (the Italian Center for Occupational Diseases) asking that his tumor be recognized as an Occupational Disease. The employee claimed that there is a casual link between his exposure to radiation in his work and the acoustic neuroma tumor he suffered, and hence his disease should be recognized as an occupational disease.
The CTU, a collaboration of experts and technical advisers assigned to evaluate the case, conducted research into the disease and its risk factors. In reducing the criteria for the causal link assessment, the CTU stated that the worker had been exposed to high-frequency EMR for a considerable number of hours per day for over 10 years.
The CTU concluded that the development of the left auditory nerve neuroma is related to his work. They based their determination on the duration of exposure, the type of devices he used, the type of pathology, and the review of the literature. They determined that the evidence is sufficient for a causal link, even in the absence of clear conclusive scientific evidence.
The CTU also refereed to a similar decision by the Court of Brescia, in which several studies between 2005 and 2009 were quoted. In three of the studies that were quoted, the risk of Neuroma had increased considerably, while according to another study the risk was considered to be low but present.
The CTU concluded that the tumor caused a reduction in the employee’s psycho and physical integrity.
Summary of Previous Italian Court Decisions
First Decision: Brescia Court. December 10, 2009, affirmed by Italy’s Supreme Court on October 12, 2012
The Supreme Court of Italy has affirmed a ruling that granted worker’s compensation to a businessman who developed a tumor after using a cell phone for 12 years. Marcolini, a financial manager at an industrial plant in Brescia in northern Italy, used cell and cordless phones for five-to-six hours a day for 12 years. He was diagnosed as having a benign tumor on the trigeminal nerve, which controls facial muscles and sensations. The court ignored industry funded studies and declared them to be biased and preferred Prof. Lennart Hardel’s expert opinion.
Second Decision: Ivrea Court. March 30, 2017
The Court of Ivrea recognized a causal link between inappropriate use of a mobile phone and a brain tumor. Roberto Romeo, 57, used his mobile for three to four hours of each working day for 15 years. He was diagnosed in 2010. His Acoustic Nerve had to be removed.” A medical expert estimated the damage to Romeo at 23 per cent of his bodily function, prompting the judge to make a compensation award of 500 euros per month to be paid by INAIL, a national insurance program covering workplace accidents. Newsweekmistakenly reported this case as the first decision while it was already the second.
Third Decision: Florence Court: April 2017
The court ordered Inail (National Institute for Accident Insurance at Work) to compensate a salesperson who developed Acoustic Neuroma. A worker used the phone for 2-3 hours a day for 10 years. The experts opinion was that there is a high probability of connection between cell phone use and malignant tumors. The Court of Florence recognized the connection between the use of the cell phone and the onset of an acute nerve disease.