Under court order, the National Frequency Agency (ANFR) of France has just disclosed that most cell phones exceed government radiation limits when tested the way they are used, next to the body. Manufacturers are not required to test phones in shirt or pants pockets. French government tests on hundreds of cell phones reveal that in 2015, 9 out of 10 phones exceed the manufacturer's reported radiation test levels when re-tested in positions where the phone is in contact with the body. The government had refused to disclose these test results until French physician Dr. Marc Arazi pursued legal action.
On June 1, 2017, ANFR posted the details of the make, model and test results for each phone that was tested. Popular brands such as Apple, Motorola, Samsung and Nokia were among the cell phone models tested. When tested in contact with the body, some phones have test results as high as triple the manufacturer's previously reported radiation levels.
"As a physician, I am deeply concerned about what this means for our health and especially the health of our children. People have a right to know that when cell phones are tested in ways people commonly use phones - such as in direct contact with their body - the values exceed current regulatory limits. This is a first victory for transparency in this industry scandal," commented Arazi.
"It is clear that the testing methods used by cell phone manufacturers are inadequate. The tests need to be updated to represent the way their customers are using these devices. If the new testing results in not meeting federal guidelines, the manufacturers should invest in the necessary research and development to reduce the radiation that is emitted" stated Frank Clegg, currently CEO of Canadians for Safe Technology (C4ST) and former longtime president of Microsoft Canada.
Ricocheting in headlines throughout France, Arazi and his colleagues have coined the situation as "PhoneGate" because of the parallels to "Diesel Gate" - the Volkswagen emissions saga. Devra Davis, PhD, President of Environmental Health Trust explained, "Volkswagen cars passed diesel emission tests when tested in laboratory conditions, but when the cars were driven on real roads, they emitted far more fumes. In the same way, every one of these cell phones 'passed' laboratory radiation SAR tests. These phones are legally considered compliant. However, when these phones are tested in the ways that people actually use them in real life, such as in your jeans pocket or bra, the amount of absorbed radiation emissions in our bodies violates the regulatory limits."
"This is an enormous international scandal. This is not only about France and Europe, as this applies to all persons who use cell phones in every country. If phones were tested in the ways we use them, they would be illegal. Even more concerning is that the regulatory limits do not protect the public from adverse health effects related to long-term exposures," Davis commented, pointing to recently published research study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found cell phones associated with a doubled risk of glioma, a type of brain cancer. Studies performed by the US National Toxicology Program found glioma and DNA damage increased in rats exposed to long-term cell phone radiation.
"I see children cradling cell phones in their laps as their mothers do grocery shopping. Teenagers are sleeping with cell phones and pregnant women rest phones on their abdomen. Parents have a right to know that when children use cell phones in these ways, their bodies are absorbing wireless radiation at levels that exceed limits set for adults, last updated twenty years ago" stated Theodora Scarato MSW, Program Director at Environmental Health Trust, referring to how the American Academy of Pediatrics issued recommendations to reduce cell phone radiation exposures to children and has repeatedly called on the US Government to update cell phone testing protocols.
France's National Agency of Health Security of Food, Environment and Labour (ANSES) July 2016 report "Radio Exposure and the Healyh of Children" conceded that it was "unlikely that people, especially children, are aware of the conditions of use close to the body, as defined by manufacturers."
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) released similar findings of cell phone radiation levels that exceeded federal limits this year in their investigation of cell phones radiation. The CBC survey of more than 11,000 Canadians found that more than 80 percent were unaware of manufacturers' recommended separation distance and 67 percent admitted they carry their phones against their bodies.
In California, the City of Berkeley was sued by the CTIA, when the City passed an ordinance mandating consumers are informed of these manufacturers' instructions by retail stores. The CTIA argued that the "Right To Know Ordinance" violated free speech rights and recently lost their case in court when the judges ruled that the Ordinance was "in the public interest".
After litigation by UC Berkeley public health professor Dr. Joel Moskowitz, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released cell phone guidance that the Department scientists had drafted, but withheld from publicly posting for seven years. The guidelines aimed inform the public from possible health impacts from cell phone radiation.
Litigation is moving forward involving more than a dozen people in the U.S. who claim their brain cancer is related to their cell phone use. In Italy, a recent court ruling recognized a link between cellphone use and brain tumors and granted lifetime compensation to a man who developed a brain tumor after 15 years of work related cell phone use.
"Why does the public have to sue to get this information?" Scarato asked. "And what about children in schools? court ruling and Protection Advisory Council has recommended that schools reduce radiofrequency radiation exposures to children by installing wired networks rather than Wi-Fi. Yet at the same time, schools are now allowing or even insisting children bring cell phones into classrooms. I am sure most of those children are carrying these phones from class to class in their pockets close to their body. They are not aware of the radiation exposures."
Since 2010, French law has ensured that SAR levels are placed prominently on cell phone packaging and the sale of cell phones was banned for young children. French legislation in 2015 included several new policies aimed at reducing exposure to radio frequency radiation. Arazi called on the Health and Environment Ministers and Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention Agency to take immediate action on this new information by informing the public and issuing new protective policies.