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

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Spain: Several autonomous parliaments and numerous municipalities have adopted resolutions that urge the application of the precautionary principle in the field of electromagnetic pollution, e.g. by eliminating/ limiting wireless networks for children, conducting health education and public awareness campaigns,  avoiding the implementation of smart meters, and claiming support measures for people affected by central sensitization syndromes.

Institutional statements of some regional parliaments of the Autonomous Communities (Basque Country and Navarre) adhering to Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 1815 (PACE) of 2011 to apply the precautionary principle in relation to EMF exposure.

More and more Spanish schools requests a cable internet connection, and the case of the School Solokoetxe in Bilbao has been significantly discussed in the Basque Parliament itself in 2015 with scientific advisors provided by the parents’ association.

The Basque Parliament

In October 2011, the Basque Parliament in a Non-Law Motion adheres to PACE Resolution 1815 to “act accordingly … in favor of health protection” in the field of electromagnetic waves, in particular the conducting of information and awareness campaigns “against the immoderate use of mobile phones among children”.

In April 2013, a Resolution of the Ombudsman of the Basque Country recommends that the Basque Department of Education implement measures to reduce the levels of radiofrequency emission in schools.

The Parliament of Navarra

In September 2014 the Parliament of Navarre voted to adhere to PACE Resolution 1815 The potential dangers of electromagnetic fields and their effect on the environment,with a resolution urging the Spanish Government and the Navarre Autonomous Community Government to implement the recommendations to apply the precautionary principle in relation to EMF exposure. News Article: “The Parliament of Navarre urges to remove the WIFI in schools by precaution”

Since 2012, various institutional declarations have been approved by municipalities and other local entities requesting the implementation of the recommendations of PACE Resolution 1815: Barakaldo, Errentería, Espartinas, Hospitalet, Jerez de la Frontera, San Sebastián, Vitoria, Villa de Plentzia, Cornellá de Llobregat, Torrox, Mula, Villa de Buenavista del Norte, Poio, Arganda del Rey, Cenizate, Hospitalet, Juntas generales de Guipúzcoa, Villava,

Hospitalet City Council deactivated Wi-Fi: In April 2014, the Hospitalet City Council deactivated the Wi-Fi network of municipal nursery schools, reducing levels in these centers below the limits required by PACE Resolution 1815. In December 2014, the head of the Hospitalet department of education asked the Department of Education of the Catalonia Autonomous Community to follow the precautionary principle to reduce EMF exposure in Catalan educational establishments.

The Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council at its plenary session in September 2015 unanimously approved a precautionary approach with wireless: Citizens will be informed of the location of wireless transmitters are in civic centers and municipal buildings. It is recommended that children’s spaces such as playgrounds and family libraries, will be free of Wi-Fi or have decreased Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi free zones will be established in playgrounds and building entrances.

Institutional motions regarding people affected by environmental pathologies

Since 2012, municipal institutional motions have been approved in support of people affected by central sensitization syndromes and / or in favor of prevention and action measures in environmental pathologies: Vitoria-Gasteiz (May 2012), Pinto (January 2014), Jaén (December 2014), Sant Cugat del Vallès (Setember 2014), Tarragona (November 2015), Barcelona (December 2015), Vilanova i la Geltrú (December 2015), Terrassa (January 2016), Hospitalet de Llobregat (March 2016), Vilassar de Mar (March 2016), Montcada i Reixac (March 2016), Castellbisbal (May 2016), Badia del Vallés (April 2016), Arenys de Munt (June 2016), Durango (February 2017).

The Tarragona City Council (Tarragona is a major city 100 kilometres south of Barcelona) at its plenary session in November 2015 unanimously approved the “Institutional Declaration of support for people with Central Sensitivity Syndromes”:

  1. Carry out (with a yearly update) a diagnosis and census of those affected by CSS in the City of Tarragona, showing what is the actual situation and the specific needs of these patients and their families.
  2. An intervention protocol for the staff of the Area of Services to Citizens of the Tarragona City Government to look after those with CSS- including a list of economic subsidies for food, first necessity elements, reduced water bill, and home help specific to the needs of these patients.
  3. Housing protocol for people with CSS, especially those who have MCS and/or EHS, those threatened by eviction or those who are forced to leave their home. This protocol has to include a series of safe social housing (green/white spaces: free of xenobiotics and electromagnetic waves).
  4. Create green/white spaces in all municipal buildings (free of xenobiotics and electromagnetic waves).
  5. Eliminate, as much as possible, the use of pesticides in the whole of the municipality. In the case when this is not possible, establish a communication protocol to contact those affected and the press regarding the places and dates of the interventions with preventive advice.
  6. Training for social workers and educators about CSS, its social, health and economic reality. Elaboration of information and education to increase the knowledge about these illnesses amongst the general population and of the city workers in particular, with the objective of diminishing the stigma that is now present regarding these illnesses.
  7. Protocol for adapting working conditions of the municipal workers who have CSS with specific measures of support when having a flare up. These would be the measures: work schedule flexibility, encourage work from home through internet (teleworking), reserved parking spaces and include in the collective agreement not deduct the salary of the first 20 days of sick leave.
  8. Read the full article in Catalan, Spanish and English detailing the actions here.
  9. Blog Post: “GOOD NEWS: FIRST RESCUE PLAN FOR PEOPLE WITH CSS”

In May 2012, the Galician Association of Biologists asks the government of the Autonomous Community of Galicia to apply the precautionary principle to exposure to electromagnetic fields, specifically to protect children: Information on health EMF risks, the ban of the use of mobile phones and Wi-Fi devices in the schools and mobile phone antennas near the schools.

In May 2016, the Guipuzcoan Association of Pharmacists of (COFG) and the Guipuzcoan Association of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Bizi Bide signed a collaboration agreement of 284 pharmacies in Guipúzcoa to disseminate information and to raise awareness on Central Sensitization Syndromes (Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and Electrohypersensitivity).

Smartmeters

During 2016 and 2017 motions were approved at municipal or provincial level, in Catalonia and Andalusia, against the installation of “Smart meters” (1 and 2): Sta. Perpetua de Mogada (June 2016), Diputació de Barcelona (June 2016), Barcelona (July 2016), Masnou (September 2016),  Hostalet de Pierola (September 2016), Sta. Coloma de Grallanet ( setember 2016), Vallirana (September 2016), Sant Feliu de Guíxols (setember 2016), Celrà (October 2016), Hostalric (October 2016), Sant Adríà de Besòs (October 2016), Cerdanyola del Vallès (October 2016), Diputació de Girona (November 2016), Torrelles de Llobregat (November 2016), San Cugat del Vallés (November 2016), Hospitalet de Llobregat (November 2016), Cornellà de Llobregat (November 2016), La LLagosta (November 2016), Pallejà (November 2016),  Polinyà (November 2016), Monistrol (December 2016), Rupià (December 2016), Balaguer (December 2016), Cervellço (December 2016), Vendrell (December 2016), Esplugues de Llobregat (January 2017), Molins de Rei (January 2017), Cunit (January 2017), Sant Cebrià de Vallata (January 2017), Caldes de Malavella (January 2017), Prat de Llobregat (February 2017), Fuente Vaqueros (Granada, February 2017), Sant Boi de Llobregat (February 2017), Sant Andreu de la Barca (February 2017), Sant Quirze del Vallès (February 2017), Mollet del Vallés  (March 2017), Abrera (March de 2017), Diputación de Granada (March 2017)

Since 2011, several court judgments have been approved recognizing the disability to different people affected by electrosensitivity.

  • In May 2011, a judgment of the Madrid Labour Court nº 19 to declare permanent incapacity (100% of his base salary) of a worker Complutense University of Madrid who suffered from chronic fatigue and environmental and electromagnetic hypersensitivity (the EHS is mentioned for the first time in Spain as cause of disability).
  • In July 2016, a judgment Nº 588/2016 of the High Court of Madrid has recognized for the first time a situation of total permanent disability for the exercise of the profession of a telecommunications engineer as result of “electrosensitivity syndrome (EHS)”. For the first time in Spain, the EHS condition is considered as the main cause of disability involved.  “This is the first we have achieved total disability due exclusively to this syndrome,” says attorney Jaume Cortés, the Col·lectiu Ronda. Lavanguardia News Article: “A ‘teleco’ with electrosensitivity achieves the inability to work between wifis: The TSJ of Madrid recognizes the right to a benefit denied by the INSS”
  • In February 2017, the Social Court, number 4, of Castellón has issued a ruling that recognizes, for the first time, a permanent disability in the degree of great disability to a patient who suffers as a clinical picture residual multiple chemical sensitivity and electrosensitivity.
  • During the last decades, Regional and municipal regulations were approved to reduce the legal exposure in their territories. Unfortunately, now, the last General Telecommunications Law (2014) eliminated the regional and municipal competences in that area.

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