Tonia Antoniazzi MP- Health related effects of electromagnetic fields 5G Westminster Hall
vrijdag, 28 juni 2019 - Categorie: Artikelen
Dinsdag 25 juni 2019
Een indrukwekkende lezing in het Engelse Parlement van Tonia Antoniazzi MP (member of parlement) over 5G, ze komt uit Wales en dat is aan haar spraak te horen, maar de ondertitelingknop kan ingeschakeld worden en dan is ze uitstekend te volgen.
Bovendien is haar volledige tekst, compleet met vragen en antwoorden, op op schrift gesteld, zie voor de tekst, met links:
Electromagnetic Fields: Health Effects
Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 4:35 pm on 25th June 2019
eveneens hieronder de hoofdtekst, zonder links en discussie
I beg to move,
That this House
has considered the health-related effects of electromagnetic fields.
I am honoured to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Hollobone. This Westminster Hall debate is timely. It comes on the back of an historic decision by Glastonbury Town Council to oppose the roll-out of 5G because of a severe lack of evidence about its effect on the health of those living and working around 5G sites. In the words of Martin Pall, emeritus professor of biochemistry at Washington State University:
“Putting in tens of millions of 5G antennae without a single biological test of safety has got to be about the stupidest idea anyone has had in the history of the world.”
We saw the roll-out of 5G postponed in Brussels when Céline Fremault, Environment and Energy Minister, identified that it was not compatible with Belgian radiation safety standards; and a planned upgrade to 5G in Geneva has been stopped, through application of the precautionary principle, until independent findings on possible health damage become available.
I was approached by an old friend who is now a constituent about how a sensitivity to electromagnetic fields seriously affects her health and the way she lives her life. Annelie lives in France for part of the year and has to return to Wales as her health deteriorates while working as a university lecturer. I was intrigued by the effects and wanted to know more, so I have been in contact with a number of people who either have concerns about the health-related effects or are suffering at first hand. Following discussions with others, I was keen to secure a debate on the subject, because the Government are sweeping the health concerns under the carpet and there appears to be an absolute refusal to acknowledge that the health-related effects even exist.
Initiating a conversation about electromagnetic sensitivity has had members of my own team and family telling me that it is all made up. That in itself motivated me to keep reading and to speak to as many people as I could in Wales and beyond who were suffering. What shocked me was the number of people who have ES but are too afraid to talk publicly about their illness, because they are really wary of being humiliated and ostracised.
Electrosensitivity is the symptomatic sensitivity to electric or magnetic fields of any frequency, including radio frequency transmissions. The condition was first described in 1932. It is when a person’s physiology is affected by external electromagnetic fields, giving rise to a spectrum of symptoms, which are often neurological. It is therefore an illness caused by environmental agents—essentially, an environmental toxic pollutant. The condition can arise because of continued exposure to an environment polluted by man-made EM and RF wireless signals at levels at orders of magnitude below those that produce heating effects, and it is well understood in many other countries. Symptoms include headaches, fatigue, disturbed sleep, tingling, pains in limbs, head or face, stabbing pains, brain fog and impaired cognitive function, dizziness, tinnitus, nosebleeds and palpitations. As we saw with chronic fatigue syndrome, however, there was disbelief about those presenting with symptoms of this condition. Indeed, it was construed by others, through a lack of knowledge and difficulty in diagnosis, as a psychological illness. I believe that electrosensitivity will be recognised in years to come—sooner than that, I hope—and that the Government will have to own up to their part in it.
To be honest, this is not a subject that I ever thought I would stand here and talk about, even though as a mother, I have always been keen to charge my son’s phone outside his bedroom but have never applied the same rule to myself. Parents seem to care about this in relation to their children, and we hear that masts—one was recently fitted to a school in Haringey—are no longer being put up on primary schools. There is something in this.
I also worry about the impact of social media on mental health, and about the smartphones’ increasingly addictive nature, which is impacting on the lives of the youngest of children. There is some evidence about the effects of radio frequency signals on mental health and behaviour in children and young people, but those effects are not considered in current attempts to address the increase in mental health and behavioural problems in the UK. I ask the Minister to include the effects of wireless signals when considering solutions for such problems in children and young people. The recent advice from the UK chief medical officers on screen time and wellbeing in young people has ignored evidence for the adverse effects of wireless signals.
Geraint Davies Labour/Co-operative, Swansea West
I want to ask about the wider environmental impact. My hon. Friend will know that 4G has the same carbon footprint as all of aviation, and 5G will be a lot more. What is more, we are now hearing that 5G will have a detrimental impact on insect life, which is decreasing globally at 2.5% per year. Given that insects are essential to humanity because they are required to pollinate all fruits and vegetables, does she agree that before hurtling ahead for commercial reasons, we should apply the precautionary principle until we know precisely what the impact will be on insects and our carbon footprint?
Tonia Antoniazzi Labour, Gower
We do need to take climate change and insect life into consideration when we discuss the impact of electromagnetic fields.
As MPs, we have a duty of care to our constituents. There is no escaping the fact that when MPs, schools, local authorities and others ask questions about the safety of new technologies, the Government give a standard reply. People who question the health-related effects of electromagnetic fields come up against a brick wall, and today I want to break through that brick wall and ask the Minister several questions. I like to think that the smart way to move forward is to consider safety and sustainability when developing products.
Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South
Many years ago, the Trade and Industry Committee investigated the matter with all sorts of experts, but nobody could come to a conclusion. That is not to say that my hon. Friend is wrong, but it was looked at about 20 years ago. Is there any evidence that electromagnetic fields can affect the behaviour of animals?
Tonia Antoniazzi Labour, Gower
There is evidence about the effects on animals. I cannot quote from it now, but I have read about it. We must remember that animals do not use screens, but there is evidence of the impact on them of electromagnetic fields from things such as smartphones and 5G. I would have to find that evidence and send it on to my hon. Friend.
Geraint Davies Labour/Co-operative, Swansea West
On that point, there is clear evidence that with high-frequency 5G—there is some denial about the idea that the frequency may be so high—there will be an enormous loss of insect life. To get the necessary coverage we need to place masts every 150 metres. The coverage will be enormous, and there is an incredible risk of substantial damage. Surely we should apply the precautionary principle, even if all sorts of commercial threats are being made to the Government behind closed doors about what will happen if they do not go ahead.
Tonia Antoniazzi Labour, Gower
We need to apply the precautionary principle when we look at anything. Many councils and the Government have embraced 5G, which has come up on us so quickly, as a solution to connectivity. To be honest, given the potential impact, I would rather see fibre broadband—fixed, wired broadband—in all the houses in my constituency and across Wales, rather than having masts put up everywhere just because that seems to be a cheaper solution.
I will not accept the response that electrosensitivity does not exist; studies show that it does. It has many effects that are not at all subjective, including effects on proteins and DNA, cell death, altered brain activity and effects in animals, as my hon. Friends have mentioned. Those effects can be measured, and they cannot be dismissed as being all in the mind.
We all know that decisions relating to technology can have unintended consequences. We are discussing one such consequence: the impact on our health. Similarly, it could be argued the effects on our mental health are being caused by online contact or screen time, but in combination with studies about animals, we can see that the signals themselves have effects. Animals do not look at screens or use social media.
In the past, no matter what questions, evidence or concerns have been put to Public Health England or the Department of Health and Social Care, they have responded with their standard reply, which includes them saying that they have thoroughly assessed the evidence in the 2012 report by the Independent Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation. The World Health Organisation International Agency for Research on Cancer classified all radio frequency signals as possible human carcinogens in 2011, based on significant increased risks of gliomas and acoustic neuromas associated with mobile or cordless phone use in humans, as well as animal and mechanistic studies. Subsequent studies have strengthened the evidence in humans and provided clear evidence of tumours in animals. Some scientists are even calling for the classification to be upgraded to a definite carcinogen.
Why, then, has Public Health England removed all mention of the IARC classification of radio frequency signals from its website? It informs people about other possible carcinogens. People cannot make informed decisions or protect those they are responsible for if the information is withheld. Will the Minister commit to ensuring that Public Health England informs people on its website and in leaflets, communications and presentations that all radio frequency signals are a possible human carcinogen?
Following the publication of a paper on the AGNIR 2012 report in Reviews on Environment Health, the AGNIR was quietly disbanded. However, the inaccurate report is still on its website and is used to justify its advice to MPs and the public. When will the 2012 report be retracted because it is scientifically inaccurate and out of date?
The Department for Education in England and the Department of Education in Northern Ireland have said that it is the responsibility of schools to carry out risk assessments before technologies are introduced and used. However, schools cannot safeguard pupils or staff through a risk assessment if they have been given inaccurate information. Can schools be accurately informed about the risks, so that they can fulfil their responsibilities to safeguard children?
Schools and parents could have been informed that wireless signals are a possible human carcinogen; that there is evidence of damage to fertility; and that there are adverse effects on brain development. Schools could have been advised to use wired technologies to prevent possible harm to children’s health and development. The EU has sent a cautionary message about wi-fi in relation to school children, but only France has removed wi-fi from its primary schools.
The Cyprus Government have produced short, practical videos warning teenagers and pregnant women about the risks of radio frequency signals and offering simple actions. When will children, young people, parents and pregnant women in the UK be offered similar advice so that they can take steps to stay safer?
By denying the existence of adverse effects and providing inaccurate information, Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care have prevented the UK public from living and working in safe environments. When will the Government listen to the warnings from scientists and doctors to help MPs to better protect their constituents?
If we are to develop safer technologies in the future, we need to be honest about the risks. We must not ignore the fact that people have ES; those people exist, and their lives are being ruined. Others without ES also have genuine concerns about the roll-out of 5G. People do not need to suffer to be concerned, because the name 5G is deceptive: it implies a simple upgrade from the current 4G, or fourth generation, wireless, but it is so much more than that. It is a massive experiment, and the consequences of our actions are largely unknown.
One thing I feel very strongly about is that for people with ES there is literally no escape—they will have nowhere to go. Can we have safe public spaces and living and working environments so that everyone has somewhere to exist? That is extremely urgent, particularly with the introduction of 5G smart cities, smart roads, the internet of things and thousands of 5G satellites.
I would like the Government to give a commitment to creating white zones, where people can have respite when they need it; to pledge to provide up-to-date, transparent and independent research on the impact of electromagnetic fields; and to replace the 2012 AGNIR report. The science needs to be reviewed—no one can disagree that the technology moves on so quickly that there is even more need to keep up to date with the science.
Finally, I recently received a letter with a heartfelt request from a mum in west Wales:
“I’m told you think the only way forward is a white zone, I agree but also to get ES recognised as a disability. I have spoken with my MP and he agreed that if ES could be recognised as a disability, other things such as access to education would fall into place.”
I agree with Sarah. Her struggle is real, and so are the lives of many people who are largely ignored and belittled. Electromagnetic fields have had a dramatic impact on the life and health of my old classmate Annelie over the past 10 years. We can no longer hide and pretend that this is not happening. It cannot be swept under the carpet, especially in the light of the future impact of technological advances at the expense of people and our environment.
In conclusion, it is evident that the Government need to ensure that the research is independent. They need to recognise electrohypersensitivity as an occupational disease, as a French court did earlier this year, and put guidelines in place for employers to make reasonable adjustments so that their employees can continue to work in a healthy environment. I remember the days when we made plans to meet without mobile phones to say that we were running late or could not make it. Advances in technology have swept through our lives. Before I am accused of being a luddite, I stress that I think technology is wonderful and offers a great many benefits to all, but we cannot continue to deny that there is an impact on some people’s health and wellbeing. This is not about stopping progress; it is about making sure that there are no health concerns as a result of the technology, and about doing what is best for our constituents.
David Drew Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 4:52 pm, 25th June 2019
I am delighted to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Hollobone. My hon. Friend Tonia Antoniazzi has done an admirable job in at least raising the issue that the precautionary principle should be paramount before we take on any new technology. As someone who represents a semi-rural area, let me say at the outset: please give me 3G. I am not worried about 4G or 5G; I just want 3G, with all the consequences it brings. My constituency still has at least one market town that cannot even get that. That was just a little plug for getting the existing technology in place.
What my hon. Friend says is worthy of debate. It should be taken seriously by the Government and should help the public to understand that their representatives are listening. Stroud being Stroud, an active campaign is already under way on 5G. People are saying, “We don’t want it and we’ll do anything to stop it, so please listen to those who have already raised concerns.”
Like my hon. Friend, I have met people who are incredibly affected by electromagnetic sensitivity—to the extent that, when they moved into their house, they had to have the smart meter taken out, and even asked their neighbour to take out theirs. Once that happened, their health dramatically improved. People say that electromagnetic sensitivity is all psychosomatic, but I have seen the evidence of people’s sensitivity to electromagnetic waves. If we ignore it, there will certainly be health and biological consequences, and there may be many more problems. Since my hon. Friend has done a valuable job of explaining the possible health and biological impacts, I will say more about planning.
It is only fair to ask the Government to at least respond to the growing evidence from the International Electromagnetic Field Scientist Appeal, PHIRE— the Physicians’ Health Initiative for Radiation and Environment—and other reputed scientists in the field, as well as from communities. Brussels has now stopped the roll-out, and so have a number of cities in California. There is growing concern, and it needs to be recognised and answered. It is a shame that we seem to be in complete ignorance of some of the effects of 5G. I have not seen proper medical studies that deal with people’s susceptibility to it. It would be right and proper for us to see those studies.
Geraint Davies Labour/Co-operative, Swansea West
I apologise that I will have to leave before the end, Mr Hollobone.
Is my hon. Friend aware of the veracity of reports that 5G companies, which have enormous commercial power, have put pressure on the Government to move ahead quickly and are making threats similar to those made about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership? It may be that we have signed up already, and if we pull back on the basis of the precautionary principle and risks to human and wildlife health, the Government will end up being sued by big commercial interests. We should resist that in the interests of the public.
David Drew Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
I agree. My hon. Friend’s work on air quality is very important. Politicians in general are at last beginning to understand the threats. It seems lamentable that, now that we understand the threats to air quality through pollution from cars, incineration and other things, another technology is coming in that could be as damaging. Maybe we will not see its effects for years, but will in decades unless we understand what it can do to people. It may not affect everybody—it may be down to genetic susceptibility—but we ought to listen to what is happening to those people.
It would be useful for the Government to put the studies, and their responses to them, on the record. As my hon. Friend the Member for Gower says, one problem is that, now we are into 5G, there is a view that existing masts can be added to or that additional technology can be used. I put it to the Minister that the biggest worry is that there is a view, certainly in Stroud, that lamp posts will be seen as a perfectly acceptable substitute and that, instead of putting up new masts, the technology could be added to existing infrastructure.
It would be useful to know what powers exist, because I understand that the electronic communications code has granted virtually unlimited powers to companies to construct, maintain or develop the current infrastructure without any planning permission. It is all done under delegated responsibility, which means that the general public do not even know what is going on, because normally these things are not publicised. There is little recourse unless the public take court action to stop it, but the means of doing so are limited. Even a private landowner has little authority to stop it. The matter needs to be looked into and properly investigated.
I ask the Government to look at how they can consult the public, because the public are getting worried. The scare stories may not have the full scientific rigour that they should have, but the public know no more than what they have been told by various experts in the field, and there are always experts on either side of the argument. Our case is that, at the very least, there should be an open, honest and transparent investigation of the health and biological impact of the new technology.
Driving forward 5G is about financial interests. It is not being done for altruistic reasons, but because an awful lot of money stands to be made in a very short time. We need to look at that. It exacerbates the digital divide. As I have said, I would be satisfied with 3G in constituency.
Having listened to my hon. Friend the Member for Gower, I hope the Minister will be able to say what plans the Government have to investigate the impact on the ecosystem, which is as important as human beings. We need to keep our bugs, birds and other fauna in the state they are in, given that they are under enormous attack. We talked about that yesterday in relation to the climate change statutory instrument that we passed. We are not just talking about our own survival but the survival of other species. It would be a tragedy if we have done things to protect them and yet we let 5G come in. There are allegations that 5G has an impact on other species, particularly in rural areas where we see many living creatures.
My final point is that part of the problem is that the new technology is coming through without much questioning, or even recourse for people to question it. The biggest problem is the speed at which it is being introduced. There is no way that communities that are at best uncertain about the impact of that technology on their children, their schools and their wider community can do anything.
I ask the Government to look at this carefully, as my hon. Friend the Member for Gower said, so that we consider the implications both for individuals’ health and the wider ecosystem, and that we also take time and recognise that the precautionary principle is as important in this area as it is in general about air quality.
Philip Hollobone Conservative, Kettering
We now come to the Front-Bench spokespersons, the first of which will be from the Scottish National party.
Voor het vervolg, de verdere discussies in deze zitting, verwijs ik naar de link bovenaan. Het belangrijkste staat hierboven.
Het is m.i. schokkend te zien hoeveel tijd er in het Britse Parlement aan dit onderwerp besteed wordt in vergelijking met de geringe, vrijwel geen, tijd in Nederland aan dit onderwerp besteed.
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