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01/07/2002 - Former Norwegian Prime Minister gets headaches every time she's near a mobile phone

She has become so sensitive to mobile phone radiation that people within 4 metres of her must turn their phones off in order to stop her feeling bad. Even phones turned on, but not in use, set off her headaches. A medical doctor and a master of public health, Brundtland gained international reputation in the 1980s for championing the cause of substainable development when she was Chair of the World Commission on Environment and Development. In October 1986 she stepped down as Prime Minister of Norway, after being head of her Government for more than ten years. She has headed the World Health Organisation since 12th June 1998.

She never had a mobile of her own, but her colleagues did and she often used to receive calls on their phones. "In the beginning the area around my ear got warm. But the pain got worse, becoming stronger and I got headaches every time I used a mobile phone," Gro says. She thought she could avoid the pain by reducing the time she spent on the phone, but it didn't help. The headaches lasted about an hour.

"I have made several tests: people have been in my office with their mobile hidden in their pocket or bag. Without knowing whether the phone was on or off, we tested my reactions. I always reacted when the phone was on - never when it was off. So there is no doubt."

The headache she gets from the radiation goes away within half an hour to an hour after her exposure stops. She gets an instant reaction if she touches a DECT cordless phone, which gives off as much microwave radiation as a mobile phone.

Gro Harlem Brundtland says "I think we have reason to be cautious, and not use mobile phones more than necessary. And the younger you are, the more reason to take this seriously. I think you should follow the precautionary principle".

Some people develop electrical sensitivity (ES) from equipment such as mobile phones or PCs. If Gro Harlem Brundtland holds a laptop to read what's on the screen, she says "it feels like I get an electric shock through my arms."

It is not yet known if this sensitivity can lead to adverse health-effects such as cancer or other diseases. But it can certainly lead to a seriously curtailed lifestyle in an increasingly electropolluted world.

Mainly from a translation by Lisa Hallebrant, Swedish Electrosensitives, from the front page of Norwegian paper "Dagbladet" on 9th-02-02