OPINION

Protection principle

In Western democracies and in our «brave new world» of plentiful technological discoveries, there is a significant detail which often goes unnoticed. Citizens are being transformed into guinea pigs as multinational corporations’ thirst for profit leads them to promote products whose possible health risks have not been adequately tested. Of course, the invisible but long-term dangers of any product begin revealing themselves only when it has become established in our lives, so consumers are initially oblivious of potential problems. And so we play the role of guinea pig. Meanwhile, the national ombudsman has invoked the «principle of protection» – officially recognized by international and European law – in a bold and shocking report about mobile telephony transmitters and the possible consequences of the electromagnetic radiation that they emit. According to the ombudsman, the fact that research into the radiation effects have not concluded that there is no risk means there should be a revision of legislation regarding the installation of transmitters in residential areas, and of the limits of hazardous exposure to the electromagnetic field. According to the report, these are 33 volts per meter in Greece, but just 4 volts per meter in Switzerland, 6 in Italy and 17 in Australia. Our era is full of scientific challenges and discoveries. The question is whether human life retains its paramount importance at their core.