Zweden: Electrosensitivity in Sweden by Prof. Olle Johansson

maandag, 09 februari 2009 - Categorie: Berichten Internationaal

Electrosensitivity in Sweden by Olle Johansson

In addition to the recent message #1000 'Electrosensitivity becomes
an 'inconvenient truth' in Sweden', published on the list by
John and Rigmor Granlund-Lind, Monday December 8th, 2008, . , it is important to realize that
in Sweden electrohypersensitivity (EHS) is definitely not completely
denied. In Sweden, electrohypersensitivity is an officially fully
recognized functional impairment (i.e., it is not regarded as a
disease). Thus, sick allowances are not the first step for a person in
Sweden with a functional impairment. The first step is to contact the
municipality's special civil servant for disability issues, as well
as the various handicap organizations and authorities, to achieve
accessability measures of various types with the sole aim to have an
equal life in a society based on equality.

All authorities are not against the electrohypersensitive people, that
would be a serious violation of national and international handicap
laws and regulations. As the most important tool to address the
responsible levels of society, such as municipalities, persons with
the functional impairment electrohypersensitivity have their own
handicap organization, The Swedish Association for the
Electrohypersensitive (; the website has an English
version). This organization is included in The Swedish Disability
Federation (Handikappf'rbundens SamarbetsOrgan; HSO;; the site has an English short version). As a
consequence of this, The Swedish Association for the
Electrohypersensitive receives an annual governmental subsidy.

Newspapers do not write very much about this particular impairment,
but there is more news coverage about electrohypersensitivity in
Sweden than for many other impairments. For instance, the TV channel
TV4 just recently had a very good (and long) interview/discussion
around it in the program 'Efter tio', . the interview comes after
approx. 35 minutes
, and one of the most famous Swedish writers and
journalists, Liza Marklund, has recently covered
electrohypersensitivity in three of her columns in Aftonbladet, the
biggest evening paper in Sweden the columns can be found on .
. In addition, with the globlisation of our
various media, a number of international newspaper articles, radio and
TV programmes as well as internet-based video/sound files are
available in Sweden.

All of this, however, does not make me 100% content; I agree with John
and Rigmor Granlund-Lind, much more can be done and should be done.
For instance, I wrote a pretty lengthy and detailed commentary to the
very same radio programme ('H'lsolarm') as they mention in their
text. Furthermore, I wish that the trade unions again could find the
means to put pressure on the society. The health and well-being of all
(!) their members is something that needs to be dealt with again, as
it was during the 1980ties and 1990ties. Names like Per-Erik Boivie
(TCO Development), Bruno Hagi (Sif), Gunni Nordstrom (TCO-tidningen),
Martin Andersson (AMA-Konsult AB), and Nokia Monitors/Consumer
Electronics (the first computer manufacturer to adapt their production
line to the demands of TCO), as well as many, many others, will not be
forgotten. A lot of their work forms the basis of today's knowledge
and recognition. If the unions nowadays instead choose silence, then -
of course ' the industry and authorities can more and more easily
turn a blind eye at these issues.

As mentioned above, the special responsibility for functional
impairments lies within the municipalities. It is fair to say, that in
Sweden a good number of municipalities needs to be further
educated/informed, which I guess The Swedish Association for the
Electrohypersensitive already and constantly is working on/with. If
that is not enough The Swedish Association for the
Electrohypersensitive must file official complaints at the authority
named Handikappombudsmannen (HO), nowadays part of the
Diskrimineringsombudsmannen (DO). And, if that is not enough one has
to continue to the corresponding international authorities.

As indicated above, in the year 2000, the Swedish government
officially recognized electrohypersensitivity as a functional
impairment. Furthermore, the symptoms of electrohypersensitivity were
also then classified as an occupationally-related symptom-based
diagnosis (code ICD-10) by the Nordic Council of Ministers. As a
consequence of this ' and the The UN 22 Standard Rules on the
Equalization of Opportunities for People with Disabilities - since
2007 upgraded into The UN Convention on Human Rights for Persons with
Functional Impairments, . ' it is a strong legal
violation to force someone, due to an impairment, to leave their home
or employment.

I certainly agree with the general view put forward by John and Rigmor
Granlund-Lind, it is definitely not easy to live with the functional
impairment electrohypersensitivity, but my point is that the
situation, although surely dark, is not entirely black. The whole
situation reminds me about the way democracy, equality and human
rights have to be fought for every day and, hopefully, won every day.
The best way, I believe, to conquer darkness is to actively light
candles, rather than to sit put in the darkness.

Along such similar lines, I am currently very impressed by the latest
press release from the Nordic EHS meeting (also including The Swedish
Association for the Electrohypersensitive) recently held at Seletun,
Norway. And, while writing this commentary, I learn that The Swedish
Association for the Electrohypersensitive is about to launch yet a
forceful campaign aiming at the accessability issue. Homes are being
made accessable with money from the municipality; a public lecture in
the midst of Stockholm about health effects of electromagnetic fields,
including also the functional impairment electrohypersensitivity, is
soon to be announced; an educational programme is just now run for the
informants of The Swedish Association for the Electrohypersensitive;
and Katri Linna, the Swedish Diskrimineringsombudsman (=the Equality
Ombudsman), clearly states in the newspaper Sydsvenskan (January
23-26, 2009) that 'electrohypersensitivity is ' according to the
law ' a functional impairment and I recommend EHS persons that are
discriminated to file a complaint'.

All of this certainly points towards a brighter future! Furthermore,
another new turning-point might be on its way. The EU parliament
demanded in its resolution from 4th September 2008 that the allowed
levels for electromagnetic radiation be considerably reduced with
regard to public health. The parliament referred to The Bioinitiative
Report from 2007 that especially mentions the electrohypersensitive
individuals. Even more so, in a recent bill to the Swedish Parliament,
Anne Marie Broden from the right-wing party 'The Moderaterna',
asks for exactly the same action to be taken. So, the dawn is here!

(Olle Johansson, assoc. prof.
The Experimental Dermatology Unit
Department of Neuroscience
Karolinska Institute
171 77 Stockholm

The Royal Institute of Technology
100 44 Stockholm

Voor het origineel zie: .

Lees verder in de categorie Berichten Internationaal | Terug naar homepage | Lees de introductie