You are on page 1of 2

C 102/78 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 3. 4.


In September 1996 the French authorities notified a new emergency rescue package to Crédit Lyonnais of about
FF 4 billion (MECU 605). The Commission decided (2) to approve the rescue aid and to open a formal
investigation on any further aid that could be needed by Crédit Lyonnais, as well as to assess whether the
previous 1995 Commission decision was fully respected (including the infringement of the zero coupon issuing
obligation). This investigation has not led to a final decision yet.

At this stage the Commission is not aware of any infringement other than the non-issuing of the zero coupon.

In the framework of the current investigation, the Commission has decided to appoint a leading investment bank
to advise it in the assessment of the new Crédit Lyonnais restructuring plan.

(1) OJ L 308, 21.12.1995.

(2) OJ C 390, 24.12.1996.

(98/C 102/114) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2630/97

by Roberta Angelilli (NI) to the Commission
(1 September 1997)

Subject: Risks to human health from excessive exposure to non-ionising electromagnetic radiation

’Non-ionising radiation’ is widely used in much new technology, in other words, electromagnetic waves whose
frequency varies between 10 Khz and 300 Ghz, and which are now to be found in high concentrations in any
man-made environment.

With the enormous development of radio and television services and mobile telephones, the situation has
worsened recently to the extent that there are areas with an extremely high concentration of electromagnetic
waves, such as the Prati district in Rome where the inhabitants often hear broadcasts from some radio transmitter
‘playing back’ through their intercoms or notice that some of their domestic appliances have suddenly switched
on spontaneously. Local residents’ committees have been reporting such incidents to the authorities for some
time now.

European legislation in this area appears to be lacking, however, if it is true that no official studies have yet been
carried out into the short- and long-term effects of over-exposure to non-ionising radiation.

Can the Commission therefore state:

1. whether there is any legislation at EU level on protection against the health risks posed by excessive
exposure to non-ionising radiation?
2. whether there are any official, reliable studies on this subject which can demonstrate that there is no danger
to human beings from these electromagnetic waves?
3. whether it considers in any case that large concentrations of powerful receiver and transmitter systems in any
one area should be avoided?
4. what follow-up has there been to the recommendations set out in the Green Paper on mobile communications
on giving priority to environmental and health protection issues in connection with the development of
mobile communications systems?

Answer given by Mr Flynn on behalf of the Commission

(23 October 1997)

The Commission is aware of the concerns regarding health risks from exposure to non-ionising electromagnetic

It is for this reason that the Commission keeps under review research undertaken on this matter and takes all the
necessary initiatives within its sphere of competence to ensure that Community requirements are put in place for
the protection of workers and public.
3. 4. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 102/79

1. Community legislation exists for minimum health and safety requirements for work with display
equipment (1).

In the context of limiting the exposure of workers to non-ionising electromagnetic radiation a proposal by the
Commission was made in 1993 (2). Moreover, work is in hand, based on scientific evidence, to prepare proposals
for recommendations on the limitation of exposure of the public to electromagnetic fields in the frequency range
from 1 hertz (Hz) to 300 gigahertz (GHz).

2. Electromagnetic radiation may result in thermal effects, associated with the conversion of energy into heat.
These are scientifically well established and form the biological basis for guidelines on exposure limits issued by
internationally recognised bodies of eminent scientists, prominent among which is the International commission
on non-ionising radiation protection (ICNIRP).

In contrast, potential non-thermal effects such as cancer induction and promotion are not proven and are the
subject of ongoing research.

Under the umbrella of the electromagnetic field (EMF) project of the World health organisation (WHO),
guidance for risk hazard assessment is currently being prepared. The Commission plays an important role in this
and other activities with a view to proposing pertinent Community measures, if non-thermal effects are shown to

A review ‘Non-ionizing radiation: Sources, exposure and health effects’ of existing studies was published by the
Commission in 1996. A copy is being sent to the Honourable Member and to Parliament’s Secretariat.

3. The Commission’s proposal for a Council directive on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and
programmes on the environment (3) covers the telecommunication sector and thus addresses the issue of the
installation of receiver and transmitter systems.

4. An expert group was asked to elaborate a coordinated programme for research into potential health effects
of mobile communication systems.

At the end of 1996 the experts identified missing epidemiological, biophysical and biological research as regards
athermal effects. Work on exposure systems and dosimetry is also necessary in order to establish dose-response
effects in complex parts of the body such as the head. The Commission is at present considering how best to
integrate the recommendations of the experts in its proposals concerning the Community’s research and
development (R&D) programme.

(1) Council Directive 90/270/EEC on the minimum safety and health requirements for work with display screen equipment (fifth individual
Directive within the meaning of Article 16 (1) of Directive 89/391/EEC); OJ L 156, 21.6.1990.
() Commission proposal for a Council Directive on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the
risks arising from physical agents; OJ C 77, 18.3.1993.
(3) COM(96) 511 final.

(98/C 102/115) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2631/97

by Roberta Angelilli (NI) to the Commission
(1 September 1997)

Subject: The sale of milk powder by the Swiss multinational Nestlè in third world countries

Recent statistics show that the Swiss multinational Nestlè is one of the leading agri-foodstuffs companies in the
world, with 500 establishments in 66 countries, 200 000 employees and turnover of around LIT 70 000 billion per
annum. Nestlè also sells 25% of its products to the southern hemisphere and controls between 35% and 50% of
the world market in children’s food. Moreover, it appears that, because of the use of rather unscrupulous
marketing techniques, it has often breached the International Code drawn up by UNICEF and the World Health
Organization which was adopted in 1981 by the World Health Assembly to protect children’s health.