Article published in Le Canard Enchaîné, 2 August 2017
Hello, I hear nothing: Talking about the dangers of mobile phones is no easy task.
It’s crazy what one can do with a cell phone! Watch a video, listen to music, call hands-free… Finished, the device glued to the ear; now, we slip it in a shirt or pants pocket, and that’s it. One small problem, the body is exposed to electromagnetic waves emitted by these devices. In order to avoid any risk, the manufacturers recommend putting it at a separation distance from the body of between 15 and 25 millimeters, to avoid exceeding the 2 watts per kilogram limit value of exposure to electromagnetic fields.
But now, following a request from the National Frequencies Agency (ANFR), the French organization responsible for, inter alia, controlling the public’s exposure to electromagnetic waves, Europe, in April 2016, has suddenly lowered this separation distance to 5 millimeters. In undertaking tests between 2012 and 2015 on 95 cell phones, ANFR noticed that if glued directly against the body, their radiation soared: 9 out of 10 exceeded the limit value of exposure of 2 watts per kilo. And 1 in 4 displayed radiation exceeding double this threshold.
Dr. Marc Arazi, who calls himself “an independent expert in the field of electromagnetic waves”, was extremely surprised when he discovered the results: “It is a public health scandal because these results show that the majority of cell phones put into service up until April 2016 are dangerous in contact with the skin. ANFR, which has this information, has kept it secret. Fortunately, the National Agency for Public Health (ANSES – [National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety]), mentioned this in a report. Otherwise, this never would have been known.”
Unglue these from your ears
Indeed, ANSES published a 298-page report, entitled “Exposure to Radiofrequencies and Child Health”, in which it mentioned in a few lines the results of these tests in order to issue recommendations regarding “possible effects on cognitive functions”, that is, memory, attention, thinking and language, “and on well-being” of young children in particular. Except that, as Marc Arazi observes, “In the report there is no detail of the measurements or of the name of the manufacturers, and still less, the brands.
Since July 2016, he has contacted ANFR for all the data in order to make it public. He has been battling for a year, writing communications, asking the Commission for Access to Administrative Documents in order to finally get ANFR to publish on 1 June, its measurements on its Internet site. Why hide this information under the rug for such a long time? “We thought that these data were reserved for conflicting debates with the manufacturers and thus, we did not have the right to make these public,” Gilles Brégant, the Director-General of the National Frequencies Agency, said, defending himself. “It is not for us to sound the alarm. We are simple controllers,” added the head of ANFR. Who, then? “That depends on ANSES.”
A communication officer from ANSES: “With regard to the legal provisions for public prevention, we are not competent in the matter. These questions depend on the public authorities concerned.” Except that, up until now, no one is moving… Dr. Arazi is not abandoning the affair: “I have just written to the new Ministers for the Ecological Transition and for Health for them to assume their responsibilities.” Good luck!
Original article in French: