Dear Dr. Verrall,
Subject: Minimising the health risks of wireless radiation
In 2020 the Safer (EMR) Technology Aotearoa/New Zealand Incorporated Society (STANZ) was established in response to growing public concern about adverse health effects on humans, flora and fauna from exposure to radio frequency radiation (RFR) emitted by various types of cellular technologies being rolled out in our communities.
The New Zealand (N.Z) Ministry of Health states on its website that “current limits do not cause health effects… Nor has any mechanism been established through which such exposures could cause effects” 1 We disagree. As evidence we cite scientific reviews2 demonstrating biological harm at regulated levels, mechanisms involved in EHS 3and can list countries such as Poland, Belgium, Bulgaria, Russia, India, China, Ukraine and Switzerland which have safer guidelines than New Zealand.4 In addition we have testimonies from New Zealanders who are unable to physically tolerate current regulated levels of wireless radiation.
Many non-ionising EMF and RFR mechanisms and pathways have been established over the last 70 years. All of these can lead to established non-ionising EMF effects which include cancers, electro-sensitivity, infertility, cardiovascular and neurological harm.
Part of STANZ’s mandate is advocating for the fundamental human rights of NZ citizens with the medical condition, Electro-Hypersensitivity Syndrome. People suffering from Electro-Hypersensitivity (EHS) require protection from exposure to radio
frequency radiation emitted by wireless technologies such as WiFi, smart meters, cell phones and cell towers in order to stay well.
Clinical recommendations to protect EHS sufferers suggest a distance of 10 metres from mobiles in use, of 100 metres from WiFi and to live 500 metres away from masts and 600 metres away from High Voltage powerlines 5 Safe access to
critical facilities such as hospitals, educational institutions, rest care homes and most work places are no longer possible due to the proliferation of wireless technologies. EHS sufferers need alternative low emf essential care facilities. They also need homes protected from the threat of a cell tower being installed close by.
Cell Tower Health Risks
Government legislation gives telecommunication companies the right to erect cell towers in residential neighbourhoods without community consultation. A recent review of the scientific literature on the effects of base station (cell tower) antennas on humans found, “Overall results of this review show three types of effects by base station antennas on the health of
people: radiofrequency sickness (RS), cancer (C) and changes in biochemical parameters (CBP)…Of special importance are the studies performed on animals or trees near base station antennas that cannot be aware of their proximity and to which psychosomatic effects can never be attributed.”6 Cell tower RFR emissions pose a serious risk to human health. Relocating in order to avoid cell tower and neighbouring Wi-Fi emissions disproportionally affects those on low incomes who have limited financial means to shield their homes from WiFi or shift.
Lack of recognition of EHS as a medical condition by authorities compounds the hardship and isolation endured by some sufferers who have lost their careers, work and income, accommodation, place of study, or access to hospital care through no fault of their own but due to proliferation of wireless radiation.
Prevalence of EHS
In 2019 a published review of prevalence rates of EHS estimates about 0.65% of the general population are restricted in their public access due to symptoms of EHS7. Better understanding and public awareness of this condition together with remedial actions such as reducing wireless radiation would allow EHS sufferers the chance to work and participate in society again.
Because of the lack of recognition and action by N.Z Health authorities regarding this environmentally triggered health issue STANZ undertook a pilot survey to gather data about New Zealand EHS sufferers – details can be found on our website:
Research by international scientists is helping to unravel biological factors at play in this environmentally triggered illness and jurisdictions in the western world are taking note. Recent science on EHS:
2014: Genetic variants associated EHS8
2015: Cerebral blood hypoperfusion in people with EHS9
2017: 3d fMRI scans show brain damage in EHS people10
2021:Molecular Biomarkers and Imaging in the Study of Electro-hypersensitivity11
2022: Ecological assessment confirmed proof of EHS12
2022: Severe EHS symptoms shown near 5G mast13
International Regulatory Bodies acknowledgment of EHS
Since 2012: Courts in Spain, France, United States of America, Australia and Britain have recognised EHS and awarded compensation/fines14
2022: US city bans phone mast to prevent symptoms
2022: UK court: removal of Wifi/phones for EHS person
2022: US: $187,300 compensation awarded for radio frequency radiation injuries to Havana U.S embassy officials
2022: In August an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) was awarded for a UK child on the basis of Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS)15.
In light of the emerging scientific evidence demonstrating EHS to be a medical condition the argument that it is of psychosomatic causation, is misleading but financially convenient. This stance effectively silences sufferers voices and accordingly denigrates their plight. Even so, some sufferers have expressed their concerns in submissions to the Governments Radio Spectrum Management concerning 5G which were ignored. 16 This refusal to acknowledge EHS as a genuine medical condition will lead to misdiagnosis due to lack of recognition of EHS symptoms and may well create and exacerbate mental health challenges for those with this condition. This grim reality is documented overseas in reports of EHS sufferers taking their own lives.
Public and workplace health and safety measures are protecting the community from the likes of cigarette smoke and asbestos and education campaigns such as road safety and alcohol awareness saves lives, prevents injury and removes barriers for people with various types of disability from participation in society. In contrast the current Ministry of Health Radio Frequency Radiation (RFR) Guidelines are creating new barriers for EHS sufferers. It is time that the attention applied to enforce other health and safety measures is equally focused on containing RFR health risks.
Welfare of children
Of serious concern is the exposure of children in Aotearoa to an ever-growing number of wireless devices, none of which have been tested for safety on this age group. Children’s brains and organs have been shown to absorb far more radiation than those of adults. This February a group of scientists noted in their research publication that ‘children absorb proportionally
more RFR than adults; about 2-fold greater in the paediatric cerebellum, ten-fold greater in the bone marrow of the skull and up to 30-fold greater in the hippocampus. Children’s eyes can absorb 2- to almost 5-fold higher doses than adults’17. Recognising this danger France, Cyprus, the Belgium district of Ghent, Israel and French Polynesia removed WiFi technologies in their early childhood sector.
- Medical training needs to include knowledge of EHS, diagnostic criteria and its treatment.
- Establish a treatment centre for New Zealanders suffering EHS and other types of environmental illnesses similar to the state of Ontario’s ‘The Women’s College Hospital’ Environmental Health Clinic which was established by the Canadian Ministry of Health to promote “environmental health and improve health care for people with chronic complex environmentally-linked conditions such as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) and Environmental Sensitivities, including both Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (ES/MCS) and Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity” 18
- Support research on Electro Hypersensitivity.
- Include academic experts and people with EHS (or representatives of EHS sufferers) from civil society NGOs on EHS in the Interagency Committee on the Health Effects of Non-Ionising Fields.
- Discontinue using advisers with clear conflicts of interest on the Interagency Committee on the Health Effects of Non-Ionising Fields.
- Update the Ministry of Health website link on Electrohypersensitity to latest research on this medical condition.
- Follow the precautionary approach of other countries and install wired rather than wireless internet connections in Early Childhood Centres throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.
- Install wired internet connections and remove WiFi from paediatric wards in hospitals as demonstrated by the actions and policy of the Archbishop Makarios III Hospital, Cyprus in their Paediatric and Neonatal Units19 Remove cellular antenna from hospital rooftops given research that they pose increased health risks of radio wave sickness and cancer.
- Enact legislation to avert health risks to N.Z children, workers, the public and people with EHS from exposure to long term radio frequency radiation, based on safer wireless standards of 10 microwatts/cm2 as have the likes of Russia, Bulgaria and Poland.
- Introduce public health promotion campaigns on the health risks of wireless radiation and encourage precautions to minimize exposures, especially for children and people who are electromagnetically hypersensitive.
- Mandate public disclosure of the risks cell tower RFR emissions pose to health. Instate the democratic right of communities to object to a proposed cell tower in a residential zone, near schools, playgrounds, hospitals and rest-care facilities.
- Amend the Conservation Act to specifically protect native flora and fauna in National Parks and other conservation estate areas by banning or significantly reducing the use of human made EMR/RFR in these areas e.g., from cell phone towers etc. 21
The issue is no longer whether RFR is potentially injurious to health, the WHO’s IARC has classified RFR as a 2B cancer agent in 2011. Backing this classification is a strong body of peer reviewed studies showing that RFR emitting technologies from devices such as smart meters (some of which use mobile phone mast signals) cell towers and mobile phones can cause cancer, EHS symptoms, infertility and cardiovascular problems.
To date our RFR guidelines have supported ease of wireless communication in our community. Given the weight of scientific evidence documenting RFR biological and health effects our RFR guidelines must be adjusted to prioritise the health and safety of the community and protection of the environment first.
We look forward to positive action and noticeable improvements in this health field soon.
Penelope Clifford, NZRN; ADN
Anne Gastinger, B.A
Tremane Barr, B.Soc.Sc, Msc (Hons.)
Rosemarie Gutsmann, MA, BSc, Dip Ed
Gregor Sedlmeier, Dipl.-Phys. Univ., (TU Munich)
on behalf of Safer (EMR) Technology Aotearoa New Zealand Inc.
The Ministry of Health Reply
The MOH reply to the STANZ letter was received on the 14 of August 2023 is basically a brush off where they just repeat the WHO and ICNIRP mantra that non-ionising radiation is safe, but further work is being done on the topic. Considering that they quote research that suits their ends and ignores all the independent research highlighting the dangers it doesnt take a rocket scientist to know what conclusions this new research will come to given the pay masters paying for it. Its a tough gig being a research scientist always needing more research funding for the next project so its not suprising that the research ends up suiting the clients that pay for it or will pay in the future for reserch grants or promotion to prestigious positions in the system.
The full MOH reply can be read here: