Darius Leszczynski: Lectures in Australia; conclusive scientific proof and insurance
vrijdag, 05 december 2014 - Categorie: Artikelen
In my lectures in Australia I said the following comment about the need to learn from the history:
''The requirement of providing conclusive scientific proof has posed a barrier in numerous campaigns to protect health and the environment. Early warning signs are ignored or dismissed and actions to prevent harm are usually taken only after significant proof of harm is established, at which point it may be too late and it requires substantial efforts to reverse harm done to population or environment.''
As few examples of the past mistakes I gave tobacco, asbestos, DDT... Early warning signs were dismissed and, while waiting for the conclusive proof, some people got their health ruined...
It appears that I am not alone in thinking that we should not forget our past mistakes and, while waiting for the conclusive evidence, be precautionary with our use of wireless technologies.
Insurance company LLOYD'S seems to think similarly. Analogies between asbestos and EMF were described by Lloyd's insurance company in their 2010 document on EMF risks (http://www.lloyds.com/…/e…/emf%20final%20november%202010.pdf):
''4.2 Lessons from Asbestos
Many comparisons can be drawn between EMF and asbestos, and it is useful to look at the history of asbestos and the implications for the insurance industry to see what could happen with mobile phones if they prove to be harmful.
Asbestos was a ‘wonder fibre’ when it was first discovered, able to withstand high temperatures but remain soft and pliable. Its resistance to heat, electrical and chemical damage, as well as sound absorption and tensile strength properties meant it was widely used in the construction industry as fire retardant coatings, pipe insulation, fireproof drywall, flooring and roofing.
When it emerged in the 1980s that asbestos caused lung diseases claims for bodily injury started being made, and class action suits were brought in the US. Though asbestos primarily affected workers, it was not a workers compensation act or employer liability problem, but a products liability problem.
The impact on the insurance industry in general, and Lloyd’s in particular, is well known. The predicted cost of asbestos to the insurance industry is still rising. The UK Asbestos Working Party Update 2009 stated that the undiscounted cost of UK mesothelioma related claims to UK insurance market from 2009-2040 would be over £8bn which is double their estimate of £4bn presented in a 2004 paper. Long latency periods and increasing life expectancy mean mesothelioma claims are likely to be with us for many years.
The comparison here with EMF is obvious – if it is proven to cause cancer, then the injuries may not become clear until many years after the exposure due to similarly long latency periods. The danger with EMF is that, like asbestos, the exposure insurers face is underestimated and could grow exponentially and be with us for many years.
Asbestos claims are complex, and there have been a large number of court cases on the issues, some of which are still ongoing. The three major issues with asbestos are injury, apportioning liability and the trigger of the insurance contract. ''
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