February 12, 2009
To the President of the United States of America
To the Citizens of the United States of America
To the Members of the House of Representatives
To the Members of the Senate
Warning Against Adverse Health
Effects from the Operation of Digital Broadcast Television
Dear President Obama:
Dear Members of the House of Representatives:
Dear Members of the Senate:
Dear Citizens of the United States of America:
In the US, digital broadcast television is scheduled to start
operating on February 17, 2009. We write to you today because we
wish to save you from the significant negative health
consequences that have occurred here in Germany. In Germany,
analog broadcast television stations have gradually been
switching to digital broadcast signals since 2003.
This switchover first took place in
metropolitan areas. In those areas, however, the RF exposures in
public places as well as at home continued to increase at the
same time. As a result, the continuing declining health status
of children, adolescents, and adults in urban areas could not be
attributed to any single cause.
On May 20, 2006, two digital
broadcast television stations went on the air in the Hessian
Rhoen area (Heidelstein, Kreuzberg), which until recently had
enjoyed rather low mobile phone radiation exposure levels.
Within a radius of more than 20 km,
the following symptoms that occurred abruptly were reported:
Birds had fled the area. Cats had
turned phlegmatic and hardly ever went into the garden. One
child committed suicide; a second child tried doing it.
Over time the same unbearable
symptoms showed up in other locations - most recently in Bamberg
and Aschaffenburg on November 25, 2008. Physicians accompanied
affected people to areas where there was no DVB-T reception
(valleys, behind mountain ranges) and witnessed how these people
became symptom‐free only after a short period of time.
The respective agencies responsible in Germany were approached
for help, but they declined to follow up on the strongly
suggestive evidence in the actual locations. The behavior of the
government agencies disregards the fundamental rights of
affected people guaranteed in the German Constitution.
In Germany, DVB-T (Digital Video Broadcasting
Terrestrial) uses Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex
Modulation. The fundamental principle of this type of
modulation works by spreading the information across several
thousand carrier frequencies directly adjacent to each other. A
channel is 7.8 MHz wide. The amplitude also changes constantly.
The WHO, the German
Radiation Protection Commission, and the German Federal
Ministry of the Environment rely on the Guidelines for
Limiting Exposure to Time‐varying Electric, Magnetic, and
Electromagnetic Fields (up to 300 GHz), (Health Physics 74 (4):
494‐522; 1998) published by the International Commission on
Non‐Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
In this document, it says:
p. 495: "These guidelines will
be periodically revised and updated as advances are made in
identifying the adverse health effects of time‐varying
electric, magnetic, and electromagnetic fields"
p. 507: "Interpretation of
several observed biological effects of AM electromagnetic
fields is further complicated by the apparent existence of
'windows' of response in both the power density and
frequency domains. There are no accepted models that
adequately explain this phenomenon, which challenges the
traditional concept of a monotonic relationship between the
field intensity and the severity of the resulting biological
Why are the German agencies in
charge not willing to help identify the adverse health effects?
Since immediately, after digital
broadcast television stations had started transmitting, adverse
health effects have occurred, the review of the Guidelines
announced by the ICNIRP is imperative. Obviously, there are
response windows contained within the broad frequency bands with
their several thousand frequencies that change constantly and
whose amplitude also changes constantly. The ICNIRP had already
pointed out this possibility.
In 1992, Dipl.‐Ing. Rüdiger Matthes, member of ICNIRP and
of the Geman Radiation Protection Agency (BfS),
emphasized the preliminary status of the exposure limits in a
hearing on the health risks of electromagnetic radiation:
exposure levels) are several orders of magnitude higher than
the natural background radiation levels of nontechnical
In parallel to this development,
findings of scientific studies according to which long‐term
exposure to such fields may trigger adverse health effects
In this context, it is also
important to recognize that there are large differences in
exposure levels within a given population. A small child,
for example, absorbs much more RF energy than an adult
There are several findings on
low‐level exposures, which are considered scientifically
validated because they have been reproduced often but which
are rather difficult to interpret.
The impact of mostly pulsed or ELF modulated RF radiation on
cell metabolism, for example, counts among them. It has been
observed that the efflux of certain ions (e.g. calcium) from
a cell increases during exposure to such fields. The
occurrence of this effect is described almost completely
independent of the actual field strength. It can be found at
extremely low absorption levels.
With all the currently available
scientific findings, there remain some crucial questions
There are gaps in the so‐called
body of evidence. That means that the biological effects,
for example, have only been investigated for individual
frequencies. Data (e.g. effect thresholds) on the various
biological effects across the entire frequency spectrum are
The exposure limits, therefore, are based on an approach
that greatly simplifies the very complex reality whose
details are unfathomable. It should also be noted that
concrete data on possible effects of long‐term exposures are
Real life teaches us that it was
wrong to simplify. In Germany, we see strong evidence of a
direct temporal association between the start‐up of terrestrial
digital broadcast television and the occurrence of severe health
Dr. Ing. W. Volkrodt, former
R&D engineer at Siemens, recognized the danger of
electromagnetic fields for humans, animals, and plants. He
pinned his hopes on policymakers who would listen to reason when
he wrote in 1987:
"Future historians will refer to
the RF dilemma during the period from around 1975 to 1990 as
a short, time‐limited 'technical incident.' Owing to the
introduction of fiber optic technology, this incident could
be remediated quickly and effectively."
Satellites and cable provide the US
population with television services.
By contrast, the risk
associated with terrestrial digital broadcast television
transmitters is unacceptable.
We, therefore, ask you, dear Mr.
President, who has the wellbeing of his citizens at heart, to
stop the scheduled introduction of this new technology in the
United States of America and to save the people from the
negative health consequences that have occurred in our country.
Dr. med. Cornelia Waldmann‐Selsam
Founding Member of the
Dr. med. Christine Aschermann
Founding Member of the Freiburg Appeal
Dr. med. Markus Kern
Founding Member of the Physicians Appeal Allgäu‐Bodensee‐Oberschwaben