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09 April 2018

[Press release] Phonegate*: Millions of mobile phones will have to be withdrawn from the market in France and internationally

[Press release] Phonegate*: Millions of mobile phones will have to be withdrawn from the market in France and internationally
phonegatealert.org, 9 April 2018

On April 5, 2018, the site, "60 Millions de consommateurs" (“60 Million Consumers”) announced the recall by the mobile telephony operator Orange of 90,000 cell phones of the model “Hapi 30” (made by “MobiWire”) and marketed through its network in 2017.

On its part, the National Frequencies Agency (ANFR) stated in a press release published on April 6, 2018:

“Pursuant to Article L43 II bis of the Postal and Electronic Communications Code, ANFR gave notice to the company MobiWire on January 22, 2018 to take all appropriate measures to put an end to the non-compliance detected of the devices currently on the market as well as those already sold.”

At the same time, ANFR also published the test report of the Hapi 30 (unsigned by the laboratory and with “editorial changes" in December 2017) conducted in April 2017 which shows that the specific absorption rate (SAR) of the trunk exceeds the regulatory threshold of 2 W/kg (2.1 W/kg).

Benjamin Douriez, Deputy Editor of “60 Million Consumers”, asked the Agency which controls the compliance of the placing on the market of mobile phones sold in France, if recalls of this type could be repeated, citing the site: “We have recorded some other phones that exceed limits,” revealed Gilles Brégant, Director-General of ANFR. “The Agency is in the process of enforcing compliance with the manufacturers.”

Since June 2017 and the arrival of the new government team, we have written to the Minister of Ecological and Inclusive Transition, Nicolas Hulot, the Minister of Solidarity and Health, Agnès Buzyn and the Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, to ask them to withdraw mobile phones whose tests conducted by ANFR on contact with the body exceeded the threshold limit of 2 W/kg in order to protect without delay the health of users.

This is a significant step forward in the action we have been taking for nearly two years on this public health issue. However, as Dr. Marc Arazi, President of “Alerte Phonegate”, urgently recalled during the interview with the journalist Jean-Jacques Bourdin, in the morning edition of RMC on April 6: “This concerns millions of mobile phones in France, tens of millions in Europe, hundreds of millions at the international level.” 

We will not accept the “regulatory” sleight of hand that would leave in circulation hundreds of mobile phones tested by ANFR before 2016 and which present for the vast majority of them, exposure thresholds well above the limit values of 2 W/kg. As a reminder, 9 out of 10 phones tested in 2015 exceeded the regulatory limits, some reaching, in terms of the European standard, more than 7 W/kg, or, recalculated according to the U.S. standard, more than 20 W/kg, that is, exceeding ten times the thresholds, posing a risk to the health and safety of users. 

These mobile phones are today still among the best-selling ones and used by millions of French people, including many children. “This is a major public health issue and we must directly alert our public officials to the extremely serious consequences of their inaction. It is certain that if the governing officials do not take stock of their political responsibility, “Alerte Phonegate” is determined to draw all the legal conclusions from them,” said Jérôme Karsenti, one of the lawyers of the legal department which advises the association.

At the same time, our international partners have reacted to this historic first, like Dr. Devra Davis, PhD, MPH, president of the Environmental Health Trust, who stated: "Thanks to Dr. Arazi, the world is finally waking up to the fact that phones are not safe, especially when used near the body. These new reports from the French national test agency show phones exceed current test limits many fold when at body contact. We must stop experimenting on our children and ourselves. Studies from the Cleveland Clinic and leading institutions in Australia and India confirm that men who wish to father healthy children must keep phones out of their pockets. It is vitally important that all public educational institutions develop simple directions to the millions of cell phone users around the world on how to limit exposure.”

We hope to be able to be received as early as next week by the ministers concerned to advance as rapidly as possible a series of information and protection measures in France and in Europe.

* the origin of this term comes from Pierre Le Hir (Le Monde of December 23, 2016) "Soupçons sur les ondes des téléphones portables")

Contact : Dr Marc Arazi, Président "Alerte Phonegate" : contact@phonegatealert.org


Original press release in French:

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