10. What comments were expressed on the findings of this assessment?
The source document for this Digest states:
5. COMMENTS RECEIVED DURING THE PUBLIC CONSULTATION
Information about the public consultation has been circulated on a broad level to national authorities, international organizations, and other stakeholders. Many thoughtful and detailed responses to the opinion havebeen received. However, many of the submissions, while interesting, addressed aspects that were beyond the task given to the SCENIHR.
In evaluating the responses from the consultation, submitted material has only been considered for revision of the opinion if
- it is directly referring to the content of the report and relating to the issues that the report addresses,
- it contains specific comments and suggestions on the scientific basis of the opinion,
- it is directly relevant to the task of updating the CSTEE opinion of 2001,
- it refers to the peer-reviewed published literature from 2000 onwards and published in English, the pre-agreed working language of the SCENIHR and the working group,
- it has the potential to add to the preliminary opinion of SCENIHR.
Information on individual cases or any other material not included in published reports was not considered.
Each submission which meets these criteria has been carefully considered by the Working Group. The opinion has been revised based on these comments.
None of the comments that were received during the public consultation process led to changes in the overall conclusions or in the opinion proper.
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. Based on this assumption it was thought that every single scientific article of possible relevance to the area had to be cited. Other comments expected the opinion to comment upon exposure guidelines or risk management strategies such as the precautionary principle. This, however, was outside the scope of the opinion. The task given to the SCENIHR and the purpose of the opinion has now been stated more explicitly in the Introduction. 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 help the readers to overcome this obstacle a methods section has been added.
Since about half a year has passed during the public consultation process, the literature has been updated with relevant publications up to the end of 2006 and this has not led to modifications in the conclusions of the opinion.
The version that was sent out for public consultation included a table that aimed to describe sources and levels of exposure to various types of fields. This table received quite a number of comments and has been revised as it was felt that it could be misinterpreted and not equally representing exposure scenarios in different European countries. However, this illustrates the fact that systematic comprehensive and systematic information about exposure is still scarce.
Quite a number of comments disagreed with the conclusions regarding whether or not exposure to electromagnetic fields is a cause of self-reported symptoms. 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.
In addition, the 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.
Source & ©:
Section 5 Comments received during the public consultation, p.45-46