Israel – Policy Recommendations On Cell Phones, Wireless Radiation & Health

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2017: Ministry of Education banned personal use of cell phones for teaching and educational staff during teaching hours. Read English translated memorandum.  Read original Memo in Hebrew

2016: Ministry of Education banned cell phones during the school day.

Note: Although Israel has laws in place to reduce electromagnetic radiation, the law is not often followed in practice.

Since 2013 – Israeli Ministry Of Education has issued guidelines limiting WiFi radiation in schools.

  • Wireless networks banned in preschool and kindergartens.
  • 1st. & 2nd. grade internet is limited to max. 3 hr. per week of internet.
  • 3rd grade maximum of 8 hours a week.
  • A hard-wired direct cable connection is required if the teacher has a computer in the class.
  • Recommendations for reducing magnetic fields to below 4 mG for children under 15 in schools representing the government’s position that international guidelines are NOT protective of children.

Note: Despite the precautionary recommendations of the Health Ministry and the statements in Education Ministry regulations for the preference of wired (not wireless) networks-  the reality is that wireless is still being deployed in schools. ICNIRP limits are presented as the limit for comparison at the same time that it is stated that non-thermal effects and effects from long term exposure are possible. The actual practice in Israel is different than the official stance and this has prompted strong outcry from doctors, parents, and citizens for the government to be accountable to children’s health.

 

2016: The Mayor of Haifa calls for the removal of Wi-fi from all schools. Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav said that “When there is a doubt when it comes to our children, there is no doubt”.

  • “The roots of the decision go back to a 2013 petition by parents in four schools who claim that such networks are armful. The case eventually made its way to the High Court, which has postponed a final decision on the matter…The movement has spread from Haifa to other cities as well, and petitions have been signed by parents in dozens of cities demanding the removal of the networks. Haifa is the first city to take action on the matter. Haifa Mayor YonaYahav said that the city would replace the wireless network with a wired connection that will provide safer options to students.”
  • The school system has developed in house ability to ethernet connect computers in schools, however, in practice, a few schools are choosing to continue to use wireless despite the ability to be fully hardwired but access is limited.
  • Video of Lecture by Reuven Kurman, BSc, MBA, Chief Information Officer, Education Department of Haifa, Israel“What Can be Done” – Reducing Exposure to Children in Schools and at City LevelPDF of January 2017 IIAS Presentation
  • Haifa & Haifa News Report – “The – Wi-Fi in kindergartens and schools in Haifa severed.”.
  • Hamodia News Report – “Haifa to Shut School Wireless Networks.”

 

Government radiation monitoring system from broadcasting facilities

  • The Ministry of Environmental Protection operates a radiation monitoring system. The system consists of 17 permanent monitoring stations deployed throughout the country. The monitoring stations were deployed near cellular broadcasting stations, radio, and television broadcasting stations, and some were also deployed in areas far away from broadcasting facilities (above 300m from base stations and above 5km from radio and television broadcasting stations). This information is distributed on the Ministry of Environmental Protection website. In 2017, the monitoring system indicated that the levels did not exceed the recommended thresholds for exposure to radiation. An analysis of the data from the monitoring system shows that exposure to radiation in 2017 increased by about 10% compared to 2016.

 

2016 Israel National Activity Report on EMF’s

  • The Ministries of Health and Environmental Protection advise to use, where possible, wired internet and smart meter monitors connections and to present the consumers with information as to the pros and cons for the chosen technology.
  • In 2016, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Hadassah Academic College conducted research work based on field measurements regarding how to adequately measure Wi-Fi exposures. The main conclusion was that it is advisable to measure both the peak and the average exposure and to use a high rate response measuring probe. Determination of guidelines concerning Wi-Fi measurement is in process.
  • A report on Non-Ionizing Electromagnetic Radiation (EMF) was published by the Israel Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in 2016. The report mapped occupational exposures to EMF and suggested regulations to minimize the risk in workplaces.

 

2015 Israel National Activity Report details actions being taken to reduce ELF and RF EMF.

  • Cellular operators must inform consumers about radiation safety instructions.
  • According to a settlement agreement accepted by the Tel Aviv-Yafo District Court in February 2014, cellular operators have to inform buyers of new mobile phone about the radiation safety instructions, including the minimum distances from the head and the body. Hand-free kits must be provided with every new mobile phone and each cellular operator has to provide information on the safe use of mobile phones on its website.
  • 2015 Israel National Activity Report

 

The Ministry of Health – “Environmental Health in Israel 2014” details EMF Policy, Science and Need For More Protections. Original Report Publication

  • “Precautions should be strictly enforced with regard to children, who are more sensitive to developing cancer.” and that “wireless communication networks in schools be reduced.” The Health Ministry recommends “sensible use of cellular and wireless technology, including considering alternatives like landline telephones, use of a speaker while talking on a cellphone, and refraining from installing the base of wireless phones in a bedroom, work room, or children’s room.” The Report states that  “Findings in Israel clearly indicated a link between cellphone use for more than 10 years and the development of tumors in the salivary glands, particularly among people who held the telephone on the same side where the tumor developed and individuals in the highest category of exposure (heavy use in rural areas).”

  • Linda S. Birnbaum, Director, USA National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and National Toxicology Program wrote in the Israeli Report final chapter  that, “ If some of the studies turn out to be harbingers of things to come, we may have major health consequences from the nearly ubiquitous presence of wireless equipment.”
  • 2014 Report
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2013 Ministry of Environmental Protection Publication on recommendations for ELF-EMF: The recommendations of the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Health maximum permissible level of exposure to ELF in places of prolonged chronic exposure such as schools and residences is 4 mG. This is signed by Prof. Stelian Galberg and states that this protection should apply to those under 15 years old. Ministry of Environmental Protection Publication on ELF-EMF

Israeli Ministry of Health Recommends Reducing Exposure to Cell Phone Radiation

  • “These expert committees determined that there are indeed gaps in the knowledge concerning the implications of exposure to this radiation, and therefore they called for further studies on the subjects and recommended to adopt the “precautionary principle”. This principle adopts simple and relatively cheap means to reduce exposure to the minimum radiation levels possible with existing technology.”
  • “In particular, it is recommended to follow precautionary rules in the children population who are typically more sensitive to cancer development due to exposure to cancerous agents…the Ministry of Health advises parents to reduce children’s exposure to mobile phones as much as possible, consider the age they start using them, reduce the amount of time mobile phones are used, and in any event, make sure they use earphones (not wireless) or a speaker when using the mobile phone.”

TNUDA – “Recommendations for prudents use of cellphones in Israel” Include:

  • Using the speakerphone/headset during a conversation.
  • Keep the phone away from the body.
  • Reduce the amount and duration of calls made on a cell phone.
  • Areas of low reception equal higher radiation (low cell tower reception, elevator, car, train) Reduce call time in these low reception areas.
  • While driving, it is best to talk as little as possible on the mobile phone and follow the law which bans handheld phones. Inside vehicles, it is advisable to install an antenna outside the vehicle and not inside it, and to prefer wire connections between the phone and the speaker- rather than Bluetooth.

 

2002 Israel Consumer Protection Regulations (information on non-ionizing radiation from a mobile phone)

  • Compulsory cell phone labeling, radiation information provided to consumers. A mobile phone may not be sold unless they comply with the following:
  • A clearly visible sticker on cell phone packaging that says, “This mobile phone emits non-ionizing radiation; details and information about the radiation levels of this mobile phone model and the maximum permissible level of radiation are included in the attached leaflet.”
  • The packaging must include an information leaflet in Hebrew, Arabic, and Russian with SAR  information.
  • The information must be clearly displayed to the public at points of sale of mobile phones, service provision centers, websites of manufacturers, suppliers and service providers of mobile phones.
  • Israel Environment and Health Fund – “Non-Ionizing Radiation”
  • TNUDA – Compulsory Marking/Provision of Information on Non-Ionizing Radiation
  • Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection – “Radiation from Cellphones” Webpage

Notable Israeli News Stories/Videos

Notable History

  • 2010 Position Paper on Wireless in Schools by The Cancer & Radiation Epidemiology Unit of the Gertner Institute for Epidemiology &  Health Policy Research: “It was agreed by all, that the precautionary principle should be applied in the education arena as was recommended by the Health Ministry…Since there are alternative ways to establish computer networks which are safer and do not require exposure to RF, such as the use of wired technology by connecting directly to an internet-allocated socket, there is no reason to use wireless technologies such as WLAN and Wi-Fi for computer networks in schools…The education system should be instructed, as a matter of principle, to give preference to existing technologies that are relatively safe and simple, such as the use of wired systems instead of using WLAN and WiFi.”
  • “Stop Wi-Fi in schools, deputy health minister implores” – In 2012 Israel’s deputy Minister of Health Rabi Litzman stated that he supports a ban on Wi-Fi in schools.  Currently, the Health Minister is relying on scientific recommendations of Dr. Sadetsky.
  • “2012 Israeli National Activity Report” – States that a joint ministerial committee of the Education & Health & Environmental Protection Ministries gave advice to the Education Minister for ethernet connections in schools- not wireless. The Environmental Protection Ministry asked to limit the use of cell phones in buses and to prohibit the use of cell phones in elevators.
  • “The Israeli Supreme Court Ordered the Israeli Government to Investigate the Number of Children Currently Suffering From EHS.” – In 2013 a court case moved through the Israeli Supreme Court on Wi-Fi radiation in classrooms.  The 2015 Israeli Supreme court decision was that that the court sees no reason to intervene with the (Israeli) Education Ministry deployments of wireless network at schools.

Israeli Government Links

Ministry of Environmental Protection Webpage on Non-ionizing Radiation, Interactive Map of Cell Tower Locations

Israeli National Information Center for Non-Ionizing Radiation TNUDA

Ministry of Health Webpage on Cell Phone Radiation

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