10. What comments were expressed on the findings of this assessment?
Interested parties were invited to comment on the findings of this assessment by the European Commission Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR).
While interesting, many of the submitted comments addressed aspects that were beyond the task of this assessment.
In evaluating the responses from the consultation, submitted material has only been considered for revision of the opinion if
- it was directly referring to the content of the report and relating to the issues that the report addresses,
- it contained specific comments and suggestions on the scientific basis of the opinion,
- it was directly relevant to the task of updating the previous scientific opinion of 2001,
- it referred to the peer-reviewed published literature from 2000 onwards and published in English,
- it had the potential to add to this assessment.
Certain comments showed that some sentences or paragraphs could be misinterpreted and that some wordings did not appropriately reflect the viewpoint of the working group or the SCENIHR. In those instances the text has been revised accordingly.
Other than that, none of the comments that were received during the public consultation process led to changes in the overall conclusions or in the opinion.
Many of the received comments were based on a misunderstanding of the purpose of the opinion and were based on the assumption that the opinion was in fact a comprehensive scientific review paper, or that the opinion was to comment on exposure guidelines or risk management strategies such as the precautionary principle. This, however, was outside the scope of the opinion. Many other comments were based on misconceptions regarding the scientific method that is used for research in the context of risk evaluation. In order to address these misconceptions, the purpose of the opinion has been stated more explicitly in the introduction and a methods section has been added.
Quite a number of comments disagreed with the conclusions regarding whether or not exposure to electromagnetic fields is a cause of self-reported symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, dizziness or concentration difficulties. The Committee does not doubt the existence of these symptoms. However, their association to EMF-exposure has been discussed thoroughly by the working group and no changes were made on the conclusions with this respect. More...