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15/10/2013 - French Agency warns public of RF exposure

In a major public announcement, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health, ANSES, warn the public to reduce their exposure to mobile phone radiation.

ANSES announced on October 15 2013 the results of a two-year review by an expert Working Group of the scientific research on the risks related to exposure to radiofrequency (RF) radiation.

"This update has not brought to light any proven health effect and does not result in any proposed new maximum exposure limits for the population. However, limited levels of evidence do point to different biological effects in humans or animals. In addition, some publications suggest a possible increased risk of brain tumour, over the long term, for heavy users of mobile phones. Given this information, and against a background of rapid development of technologies and practices, ANSES recommends limiting the population's exposure to radiofrequencies - in particular from mobile phones - especially for children and intensive users, and controlling the overall exposure that results from mobile phone masts."

"The findings of this expert appraisal are therefore consistent with the classification of radiofrequencies proposed by the World Health Organisation's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as "possibly carcinogenic" for heavy users of mobile phones.

In addition, the expert appraisal nevertheless shows, with limited levels of evidence, different biological effects in humans or animals, some of which had already been reported in 2009: these can affect sleep, male fertility or cognitive performance."

Due to the health concerns raised by the expert Working Group, ANSES made the following recommendations:

Therefore, to limit exposure to radiofrequencies, especially in the most vulnerable population groups, the Agency recommends:

  • for intensive adult mobile phone users (in talk mode): use of hands-free kits and more generally, for all users, favouring the purchase of phones with the lowest SAR values;
  • reducing the exposure of children by encouraging only moderate use of mobile phones;
  • continuing to improve characterisation of population exposure in outdoor and indoor environments through the use of measurement campaigns;
  • that the development of new mobile phone network infrastructures be subject to prior studies concerning the characterisation of exposures, and an in-depth study be conducted of the consequences of possibly multiplying the number of mobile phone masts in order to reduce levels of environmental exposure;
  • documenting the conditions pertaining at those existing installations causing the highest exposure of the public and investigating in what measure these exposures can be reduced by technical means.
  • that all common devices emitting electromagnetic fields intended for use near the body (DECT telephones, tablet computers, baby monitors, etc.) display the maximum level of exposure generated (SAR, for example), as is already the case for mobile phones.

The Agency further recommends that children's exposure should be reduced "by encouraging only moderate use of mobile phones, ideally with hands-free kits and mobiles with the lowest SAR values."

The ANSES announcement summary (PDF file in English) is available for download.

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