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04 December 2022

France: Beware of waves emitted by cell phones and connected objects

Beware of waves emitted by cell phones and connected objects
Géraldine Zamansky - Radio France, franceinfo , December 3, 2022 (3 min. radio broadcast in French)

Were you able to choose your phone with your health in mind? Were its health standards explained and displayed? Two supervisory authorities reveal the existence of significant information failures.

(Photo): Beware of waves from mobiles and connected objects. Compliance standards are not always displayed. (Illustration) (ERIC AUDRAS / MAXPPP)

Health standards for cell phones and worse, compliance standards in this area, are not always clearly displayed when you buy a phone. Géraldine Zamansky, journalist for Health Magazine on France 5, discusses recent recommendations made by health authorities.

franceinfo: Do ​​these alerts call for greater vigilance when buying a cell phone or other connected objects such as watches or tablets?

Géraldine Zamansky: Absolutely, and we start by remembering that health authorities recommend using devices that keep the phone away from the ear as much as possible. Because the risk now scientifically recognized is a heating of the cells near these devices, because of the waves emitted.

The standards are reinforced to limit this rise in temperature to levels that the body would be able to compensate, like when you sweat. In regulatory terms, it is measured by the specific absorption rate, the SAR, as Gilles Brégant, Director General of the National Frequency Agency, ANFR, precisely responsible for controlling it, told me. The maximum is 2 for the head and trunk, and 4 for the limbs, considered less fragile.

And this is not always respected, even by major brands?

Exactly. The latest SAR overruns, noted in 2021, concerned models from the Wiko brands, and the most famous, Samsung. In previous years, Orange, Nokia and Sony had also been called to order. Most often, a remote update is enough to reduce the power level of the device, and to come back within the limits.

And if that does not work, it is the withdrawal which is essential. For the moment, no connected watch is on the list of 40 non-compliant devices identified by the ANFR. This is because Gilles Brégant explains that their control was more recent. Procedures are underway.

Those who are thinking of connected gifts for Christmas should therefore be careful?

Especially since some watches remain on the wrist at night, to monitor the quality of sleep! But the difficulty pointed out this time by the DGCCRF, in charge of the repression of fraud, is to be correctly informed about these famous SAR. Its teams checked 470 points of sale, from major brands to small second-hand shops. More than half displayed the three SAR incorrectly, for the head, the trunk and the limbs.

Sometimes the numbers are still hidden by the price tag. Worse, some dare to display an impossible "zero". So obviously, the dubious files were sent to the ANFR control teams. But one thing is certain: do not buy anything without being able to at least read this information!

>>> To read - (in French)

ANFR website
- DGCCRF alert
- ANSES opinions

Original article in French:

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