Brief report on COST 281 workshop of May 15-16, Dublin
Hi Klaus: Well, I was there--that is at the COST 281 workshop.
report below doesn't aspire to being a scientific one as I'm
initiate of that discipline, but I'll do my best to give a small
what transpired at this meeting-of-like-minds on "Mobile
Stations and Health" in Dublin last week. The COST 281
titles of all presentations are posted online. So are the abstracts,
but I failed in
my attempt to open them this morning.
On getting to the workshop, I immediately inserted EHS in
bold type on
my name tag to ensure that my identity and purpose there was
happy to meet up with such supportive others as Louis Slesin
News and medical biochemist, Sianette Kwee. They can give
expert insider's report that is beyond my scope.
The sessions I was particularly interested in were the Friday
ones on PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS and RISK COMMUNICATION.
The first presentation "Neuropsychiatric and psychological
exposure to electromagnetic fields" was made by Dr. Johan
M.D., Ph.D. (Psychiatry) Utrecht, The Netherlands.
In his published abstract, Dr. Havenaar noted the importance
distinguishing between direct and indirect bio-effects of
electromagnetic fields. Direct effects, he said, are those
which show a
clear "biological impact of the exposure on the living
indirect effects arise from "the individual or societal
response to the exposure."
Indirect effects can include for instance the increased risks
accidents from driving while using mobile phones, or stress
from psychological factors such as fatigue or monotony of
He wrote that in his upcoming presentation he would focus
"psychological effects of EMF" and "on the
putative syndrome of
While in his abstract Dr. Havenaar allowed for the possibility
obvious therapeutic results arising from application of "a
of variable, such as frequency, strength and location for
the exposure .
. ." would appear to somewhat substantiate a physical
basis for "the
controversial syndrome of 'electrical hypersensitivity'",
in his oral
presentation at the COST 281 meeting he did not allude further
substantiation. In both his abstract and presentation, Dr.
addressed the important part certain frequencies (or "frequency
windows") play in initiating particular biological responses,
effects of EMF on the nervous system and the therapeutic effects
"transcranial magnetic stimulation to the brain"
for curing a wide
variety of disorders such as depression, schizophrenia and
EHS, he said, came to light with the introduction of VDU's
the primary symptom was skin rashes. Later, headaches were
noted that two thirds of EHS symptoms seem to overlap with
chemical sensitivity). In his abstract, he observed relevancies
the EHS syndrome and a number of other syndromes deriving
to "ionising radiation, toxic chemicals, chemical or
biological weapons . . .."
His closing remarks both in his abstract and presentation
at the psychological basis for people claiming adverse effects
exposure. He used the word "nocebo" (in contradistinction
soothing apposite: placebo) to explain the "non-specific
under conditions of sham exposure" that people can experience.
"nocebo" effect, he stated in his abstract, has
been observed in studies
not connected with EMF exposure, and points up the essential
"information and other context variables" play in
tempering the "nocebo"
He concluded his presentation by pointing out that the adverse
bioeffects some people insist they experience from exposure
to EMFs may
be psychological reactions (indirect effects) rather than
reactions (direct effects). Among the relationships he pinpointed
between MUPS (medically unexplained physical symptoms) and
these: stress (psychological), tendencies to copycat other
reactions and the "nocebo" effect.
Dr Havenaar's favoured interpretation of people's professed
bioeffects to EMFs as having a psychological rather than a
basis is evidenced in the final sentence of his abstract:
of these findings [the "nocebo" and other indirect
effects] will be
discussed in the light of the need for public information
potential health hazard associated with the exposure to EMFs".
And a major implication in this statement--that what people
to overcome their psychologically induced bio-effects (MUPS,
et al) is
knowledge of/to be educated to the "true" facts
about how safe EMF
exposure really is--was repeated by a number of the subsequent
in categories PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS and RISK COMMUNICATION
at COST 281.
Some later presenters made a point of noting that the telecommunications
companies were negligent in not informing the public about
facts" of EMFs and thus putting its--the public's--mind
at rest as to
the remote likelihood of any adverse bio-effects.
The overall consensus among the presenters, it seemed to
me, was as
follows: it was due to a shoddy P.R. (public relations)job
disseminating correct information--and properly simplified
at that for
consumers with zero-to-minimal scientific knowledge--on health
related to RF/MWs and EMF generally, plus an off-putting arrogance
telecommunication companies part to muscle in on people's
property, neighbourhoods and way of life without seeking prior
permission and so on, that caused all the hullabaloo and copycat
delusional symptoms of malaise this-and-that among the public
exposure to radiative emissions of cellphones, masts, etc.,
in the first
place. Once the public would be well and properly informed
perception factors--that is how safe EMF exposure was in reality--then
the whole fuss about purported adverse symptoms would die
everyone could get on with enjoying their cellphoned lived
(I noted in a Google search of Dr. J.M. Havenaar's publications,
the abstract of his co-authored paper "Illness Behaviour
of Risk Among Victims of the Chernobyl Disaster" presented
Society for Risk Analysis 1998 General Meeting, his conclusions
"Although there were trends for some disorders to be
more prevalent in
the exposed region, none of these could be directly attributed
exposure to ionizing radiation. The results of this study
the Chernobly disaster had a significant long-term impact
psychological well-being, health-related quality of life,
behaviour in the exposed population." (Environmental
Perspective 105, Supplement 6: 1533-1537 (1997)
"Exposure to EMF from base station antennas: subjective
cognitive functions in 'sensitive' subjects--study setup"
by Dr. Eric
van Rongen, Health Council of the Netherlands.
During his presentation, Dr. van Rongen gave greater detail
setup of the study to assess causal relationships between
and subjectively reported symptoms. It started in September
said, and the first report is due in July 2003. The final
report will be
in September 2003. He mentioned problems recruiting "sensitives"
study. Some potential participants, for instance, were apprehensive
because it could trigger/aggravate their proclaimed adverse
van Rongen noted that recruits who suffered from brain injury
epilepsy would not be accepted for the investigation.
[my comment: so, wouldn't that eliminate a substantial number
list who claim their brains are adversely impacted/injured
in the headaches, sleeplessness, memory impairments, etc.,
(During the short Q+A interval following his talk, I was
opportunity to comment on the brain injured plus epileptics
excluded from the study. I said that the very fact that epileptics
excluded highlighted the assumption that EMF exposure would
interfere with the brain's electrical circuits of epileptics.
noted that I suffer in recent years from a condition similar
epilepsy--brain seizures/electrical short-circuiting of my
that these occur as I am dropping off to sleep following my
excessive (that is for my tolerance level) EMF radiation.
The fact that
epileptics are excluded from the tests points up clearly the
acknowledgment by the designers of the study that such people's
bio-electrical functions are especially sensitive to externally
stimulation from EMF sources. I added that two of my symptoms--numbness
and brain seizures--have obviously a biological basis and
can not be
conveniently interpreted as "indirect effects" (as
defined by Dr.
Havenaar) and that I would be willing to be tested to prove
that my EHS
condition has a biological rather than a psychological basis.
later that I had asked Dr. van Rongen there and then would
I be refused
participation in his tests because I get brain seizures? If
would seem to prove I would be excluded because it is already
by specialists in this area that exposing me to strong levels
would probably trigger brain seizures!)
A few comments regards later presenters in the RISK PERCEPTION
Dr Peter Wiedermann, Germany, ("Mobile fears? - Risk
regarding RF EMF") called attention in his abstract to
expert's evaluation (Slovic 1992) which reads: "The roots
of the issues
[that is citizens fear of masts plus mobile phones health
seen in the intuitive risk perceptions of lay people that
experts' assessment of risk." He notes that public risk
surveys conducted over recent years demonstrate that "the
not worry too much about these risks" but it's the mass
media that has
blown up this issue.
Professor Ray Kemp, U.K. ("Risk communication as a means
and responding to pre and post telecoms stressors") explained
people's response to the possibility of adverse health effects
characteristics with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
idea of proposals for a mast being erected in their neighbourhood
trigger PTSD. This form of stress, he said, can be reduced
and "increased transparency" between the telecommunications
the residents. Professor Kemp alluded in particular to observations
the "Stewart Report" on how the stress activated
possibility of adverse bio-effects from cellphones and masts
turn activate real ill health.
Dr. Vecchia, Italy, ("The communication of risks from
fields") addressed the need for improved communication
telecommunication networks and people. He said that the scientific
language of what exactly is involved needs simplification
non-scientific consumers of this source. He mentioned a number
by which people's perception of risk can be inadvertently
even promoting research into possible adverse bio-effects
the public's awareness of a risk factor.
The last presentation of the entire COST 281 Dublin May Workshop
("Public concerns of possible health risks from exposure
to GSM mobile
phone base stations in Poland--a 5-year experience")
was the one that
was most dismissive of citizens' concerns regards adverse
The researchers from the Department of Microwave Safety, Military
Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Warsaw, found that
public's concern about health issues were confused (concerns
type of bioeffects most feared kept shifting over time), were
inaccurate information, arose from other factors such as aversion
nearby masts or local leaders seeking approval by hoisting
Later during the final discussion session I got an opportunity
the assembly that the director-general of WHO, Dr. Gro Bruntland,
acknowledged EHS who gets headaches when cellphones are activated
her and that an English translation of her 2002 interview
online. I got the month wrong (February 2002 instead of March
I think they have the intelligence to sort that date out!
In response, a
female attendee (a psychologist, I think) said that Dr. Bruntland's
professional abilities and her purported responses to cellphones
separate issues and that her--Dr. Bruntland--response to cellphones
could be psychological as she has not been objectively tested.
And so it finished and we all went home or wherever.
A final wee comment: I must say that the chairperson/facilitator
which of these) Dr Tom McManus, Department of Public Enterprise,
was most gracious in giving me a chance to have my say on
occasions during the Q+A intervals and the substantial lunches
days were a nice upgrade from my usual grabbed sandwitches.
Best, Imelda, Cork, Ireland
Seeking Advice from Berkeley
As you conclude, you (the Berkeley community) need expertise
in the public health science realm, not (just) engineering.
That is what I was asked to provide your community from the
did provide the initial portion of it in the form of the (very
legal brief on public health science matters, submitted months
the City. I was not paid for this, though I worked straight
three days and
two nights on it. All the "pay" I required - which
was agreed upon - was
to be brought there present on it, in order to make it clear
public and to officials, to present any & all remaining
(including videotapes, transparencies illustrating these matters
graphically, meter measurements, and the full published studies),
answer any questions or doubts, and finally, in order to rebut
any & all
A brief alone is but a set of papers with black scrawlings
upon, until it
is explained to public officials and the public in an understandable
It needs personal presentation to bring it to life and to
decisionmakers that this WCF application may be a matter of
life or death.
I will be in CA in June. Please let me know whether you will
wish to use
my public health science expertise.
All the best,
groups of biological effects of the EM
Dear K. RUDOLPH,
I did receive your message, thank you very much. I am folloving
message with the great interest and the pleasure. I did see
of the Mrs. K. S. I want to give some information about the
she wanted help if she like to receive my proffessional opinion.
I did read article on your web page about harmfull biological
the EM. But I wonder, you never did mention technical law
harmfull biological effects of the EM. Because allready these
biological effects well known officially and therefore nobody
can refuse them.
Biological effects of the EM, we can classificate in two groups:
1) Benifitical biological effects of the EM, which they used
2) Harmfull biological effects of the EM, which they allready
in the technical law (CE) (CEI 111-1, Page:15-16, October
to the my personal opinion, it is sufficient to publish copy
technical law (CE) which was mentioned above. You can verify
refence (CE) from the library.
I thing first of all, it is necessary to diagnose exactly
what is the
problem of the patient. If she had harmfull biological effects
EM, then may be possible to cure her with the benifitical
effects of the EM. Now, I will give some examples.
1) Wards triangle of the femur (Bone) doesn't regenerates.
May be 1 %
only. But, medical applications of the EM, it is possible
regeneration up to 40 % (Please see attachment).
2) Classicaly kidney parenchyma doesn't regenerates after
destruction. But it is possible to regenerate parenchyma of
with the medical applications of the EM. Before the Physiotherapy
Rehabilitation treatment, tickness of the kidney parenchyma
is 4 mm.
After the Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation treatment, tickness
kidney parenchyma regenerates and gets the tickness of the
(Please see the attachment).
You see, we can't generalise that, ''EM IS ABSOLUTELY HARMFULL''
IS ABSOLUTELY BENIFITICAL''. But we can say that, ''EM CAN
OR BENIFITICAL DEPENDING ON THE APPLICATION PARAMETERS''.
If any one like to write to me about this matter, please,
any person can
write to me freely. I send to you 2 attachments.
With my best regards,
Omega: Dear Dr. Gorgun: The attachments are in turkish language,
can't use them. Perhaps you can translate them.
Dear K. RUDOLPH,
I did read information help wanted from the Mr. Robert Riedlinger.
33 years I am working on the biological effects of the EM.
Perhaps I can
be helpfull for him. Please, would you send my message to
him. I thank
you again because of your great scientific servises for the
With my best regards.
court case helping residents
This ruling which denied an appeal by American Tower after
denied a special permit to build a tower in a residential/school
has some good historical background info and demonstrates
power of the local goverments:
Mobilize the community and stop the radiation!
Informant: Bob Sklar
Amnesty International 'Nigeria: False information about
Amnesty International's campaign on Amina Lawal'.
7 May 2003
Nigeria: False information about Amnesty International's
Amnesty International today moved to correct misleading information
falsely attributed to one of the web pages of the Spanish
Amnesty International. Information has been widely distributed
falsely claiming that Amina Lawal's execution had been set
for 3 June
2003 and referring to Amnesty International as a source.
Contrary to this information widely circulated on internet,
International has consistently published accurate information
case on all its official web pages.
Amnesty International regards Amina Lawal's case as of the
priority and appreciates the support that members of the public
given the campaign. However, circulating emails with inaccurate
information causes many problems for all the groups working
defend Amina Lawal and women's human rights in Nigeria.
"All our web pages contain up-to-date information on
case. Our public material mentions 3 June 2003 not as the
carrying out a sentence of death, but as the new date set
by the Sharia
Court of Appeal of Katsina State for the hearing against her
Amnesty International said. An Amnesty International delegation
present in Court in Katsina state on 25 March 2003, when the
Amnesty International understands that Amina Lawal's right
representation, fair trial and right to appeal are guaranteed
present. Amina Lawal is not in detention and has excellent
representation, including prominent women lawyers and senior
advocates. She is being supported by a coalition of Nigerian
groups and human rights groups. Amnesty International is in
with these organizations and is careful to include only the
accurate information on its websites.
According to the Nigerian Constitution, at the end of all
processes involving the death penalty, the President of the
could exercise his prerogative of mercy, a political, and
not a judicial, decision.
"We will not hesitate to campaign for such a prerogative
exerted by the President in due time, as we would for any
attracting the death penalty under any penal code, including
Penal Legislation," the organization stressed.
Amnesty International will continue to publicly call on the
Government to abolish the death penalty and amend all legislation
introducing cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments at all
the Nigerian legislation, including the Sharia Penal Legislation.
However, the organization does not wish to interfere in the
process in the case of Amina Lawal and does not recommend
any international campaign specifically on her case at this
point in time.
Nigeria: False information about Amnesty International's
campaign on Amina Lawal
Informant: Paul V. Rafferty
U.N. OBSERVER & International Report
Office at The Hague