Despite a lack of scientific research into the health effects of the radiation emitted by mobile phone masts, Mora municipality in Dalarna County is about to create an area free of radiation following complaints filed by local resident Dan Bengtsson, 62.
”There may be a biological effect that we are unaware of. If we can play it safe it may open up for other authorities to do the same,” said municipal environment inspector Niklas Sjödin to daily Dagens Nyheter (DN).
Bengtsson, who lives outside of Mora, has long complained of headaches, back problems, and painful prickles in his heart.
He describes himself as “electro-oversensitive” and claims that his health has deteriorated since the mobile mast network was expanded in the area.
The silver suit he sometimes wears dampens the effect somewhat, but not completely, according to Bengtsson.
”It looks a little bit like a space suit,” Bengtsson told daily Aftonbladet.
According to Bengtsson, his condition is making his wife suffer as well, as she is forced to be there for him all the time.
”If I have to do a bank errand or similar she has to go into the bank and fetch me all the things I need,” he told the paper.
Bengtsson’s problems began in 1992 when he lived on the west coast and worked as an electrical engineer for a power company.
“I see this as a work related injury,” he told the paper.
In 2005 he moved with his wife to the little village Venjan in Mora municipality in Dalarna, to escape the electricity and radiation.
“But I still have not managed to find a decent home. Mobile phone radiation is unavoidable. It is everywhere in Sweden,” he said.
The matter has already cost tax payers hundreds of thousands of kronor, according to DN, and there are 140 separate documents pertaining to the affair in the case file.
The municipality environment office is hoping to meet Bengtsson half way, despite the possibility that creating a mobile phone “dead zone” could leave other residents without any reception for their mobile phones and television sets.
The authority is hoping to make an official demand that mobile phone operators, as well as the state run TV and Radio distributor Terracom, must aim their masts a different direction.
The local authorities argue their right to make such a demand is supported by Swedish environment law.
Experts have criticized the move, however, saying that there are no scientific proof that the radiation is harmful to humans.
”The decision which the municipality is about to take is not based on any scientific evidence. There is no known biological mechanism for how a low level of exposure emitted by mobile base stations could have any detrimental health effects,” Maria Feychting, epidemiology professor at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, told DN.
The Mora environment office want the companies to implement measures to ensure that the electric field strength around the man’s property can’t exceed 50 nano watts per square metre.
According to DN, this is an extremely low number, the normal radiation level is about 500,000 nano watts per square metres.
”My guess is that this will constitute a problem for many trying to use their mobile phones. That is such a low limit that I’m afraid half of the county will be without TV,” said Yngve Hamnerius, professor of electromagnetics at Chalmers University of Technology.
The limit set on electric field strength is based on what the man estimates to be a tolerable level for his everyday life.
Local authorities did attempt to measure levels around the man’s property, but surveying the area was never completed. However, they nevertheless feel that the level is adequate for mobile phone use in the area.
”We have looked through text books and come to that conclusion. We have Googled it and read some comments,” Sjödin told DN.