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EMF Studies

22 May 2017

Mobile Phones : Are the Current Standards Protective ?

by Virginie Bagouet, Agence presse médicale (APMNews), 
18 May 2017
(translation posted on Marc Arazi's blog, 20 May 2017)

Paris, 17 May 2017 (APMnews) – Some standards currently applied to mobile phones are not protective, according to a militant physician, Marc Arazi, who recently took legal action for the public release of the names of devices exceeding thresholds when placed against the body.

The specific absorption rate (SAR) indicates the amount of energy received by the user of a radio-electric device when it is operating at full power for several minutes. The absorption of electromagnetic fields leads to an increase in tissue temperature. In order to prevent this thermal effect, threshold values have been imposed.

In the European Union, the SAR head and SAR trunk must be less than 2 W/kg and the SAR limbs, less than 4 W/kg. The SAR head is “well-defined”. It integrates two standardized postures in contact with the ear and close to the mouth, Gilles Brégant, director of the National Frequency Agency (ANFR), told APMnews on Tuesday. The manufacturer must include this SAR head measurement in all notices about their devices. Overall, the SAR head has decreased. It is on average equal to 1 W/kg, according to the ANFR director.



Concerning the SAR trunk, up until April 2016, it was the manufacturer who chose the distance at which it was measured. This was between 0 and 2.5 cm. This value and the distance at which it has been measured are not usually included in the notices.

In its July 2016 report « Exposure to Radiofrequencies and Child Health », the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) considered it “unlikely that people, especially children, are aware of the conditions of use close to the body, as defined by manufacturers”. In most cases, the notice specifies keeping the phone 15 mm from the body. Yet, the separation distance between the body and a phone placed in a shirt pocket is well below this figure, ANSES emphasized in the report.

Since 2006, ANFR has been checking the manufacturers’ claims. The agents collect about 100 phones each year at sales outlets and have them analyzed by accredited laboratories which recalculate the SAR.

In 2015, the SAR trunk of 9 out of 10 phones exceeded the limit value on contact.

The July 2016 ANSES report presented the results of the SAR trunk measurements in contact with the device, carried out by ANFR on 95 mobile phones on sale in France in 2015. 89% of the phones measured on contact by ANFR had a SAR greater than the limit value of 2 W/kg and 25%, a SAR greater than 4 W/kg. This means that, in contact with the body, the SAR trunk of 9 out of 10 phones exceeded protective values.

Since publication of these results, Marc Arazi, physician and former national coordinator of the association Priartem (For the regulation of mobile phone antennas), asked ANFR to publish the list of phones whose SAR trunk values exceeded 2 W/kg on contact.

But despite a favorable opinion from the Commission for Access to Administrative Documents (CADA), ANFR did not disclose this list. Marc Arazi tried in vain to win his case in court. On 20 April, the Administrative Tribunal of Melun rejected the militant’s request.

Gilles Brégant explained to APMnews why ANFR has not published this list.

According to the rules in force in 2015, all phones collected that year and evaluated by the agency respected the standards because they did not impose a measurement in contact with the body. “These phones respected the standard at the distance specified by the manufacturers, most often, 15 mm”, commented the director of the agency. The law does not allow disclosure of information collected as part of the monitoring activity of this agency, said Gilles Brégant. The agency could also not sanction the manufacturers because their devices complied with the standards in force.

If ANFR has chosen to measure the SAR trunk of devices on contact, this is not to better reflect the reality of their use, but “for convenience”. In order to have a “common standard”, the manufacturers sometimes delayed specificying at what distance they had measured the SAR trunk, said Gilles Brégant.

The European Commission revises the standard

For wireless communication devices held in the hand or carried close to the body, ANFR asked the European Commission in 2015 to change the maximum distance of the SAR trunk measurement from 25 mm to 5 mm. “We have taken advantage of the new directive to change the standard,” said Gilles Brégant. This European directive 2014/35/UE called RED, applicable from June 2016, will be fully incorporated in France from July, according to ANFR.

Moreover, by a decision of 5 April 2016, the Commission acknowledged that the standard did not meet safety requirements and specified that for SAR measurements of the trunk (limit 2 W/kg), the separation distance should not exceed “a few millimeters”.

Citing this text as reference, ANFR now applies a distance of 5 mm for the SAR trunk to the devices it measures.

An unacceptable distance for Marc Arazi who pleads in favor of “protective standards” with a SAR trunk measured in contact with the body.

In its July 2016 report, ANSES recommended “ensuring in all circumstances compliance with the regulatory limit values for exposure”, regardless of the mobile transmitters and their conditions of use, especially in contact with the body.

vib/ab/APMnews

Autor Virgine Bagouet for APMnews

http://arazi.fr/wp2/2017/05/mobile-phones-are-the-current-standards-protective/

Original article in French:
http://arazi.fr/wp2/2017/05/telephonie-mobile-les-normes-actuelles-sont-elles-protectrices/

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