France’s health and environmental safety watchdog has announced it is standing by existing safety standards for mobile phone technologies and Wi Fi, saying their exposures had no proven health effects.
“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,” the National Agency for Health, Food and Environmental Safety (L’Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail – ANSES) announced after a two year review of the latest science by an expert panel.
“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.”
In response the agency continued existing recommendations aimed at limiting the population’s exposure to radio signals – in particular from mobile phones – especially for children and heavy users.
Dominique Gombert, head of risk assessment at ANSES, said that heavy use of mobile phones was considered to be 40 minutes a day, he told the Associated Press.
Heavy mobile phone users could reduce their exposure by the use of hands-free kits and children should be encouraged to only use mobile phones moderately, the agency advised
ANSES clarified while there has been some evidence of biological effects affecting sleep, male fertility and cognitive performance none of these resulted in health effects.
“The Agency’s experts were unable to establish any causal link between the biological effects described in cell models, animals or humans, and any possible resulting health effects,” ANSES said.
The Agency highlighted the massive growth in applications of radiofrequencies in indoor or outdoor environments, leading to an increase in population exposure and recommended ongoing “measurement campaigns” of environmental levels in France.
They also recommended an in-depth study be conducted on the consequences of increasing the number of base stations in order to reduce levels of environmental exposure and to investigate ways exposures can be reduced by other technical means.
ANSES also made recommendations to conduct further research into the possible long-term effects of exposure to mobile phones and the identification of population groups potentially more susceptible such as children, and pregnant women.
Dr Jack Rowley, GSMA Senior Director for Research and Sustainability, commented that, ‘The ANSES report is the latest in a long-line of authoritative reviews which have consistently supported the adequacy of the international limits and concluded that there is no scientific basis for arbitrary reductions.’
The report was issued by a panel of 16 experts, who looked at more than 300 scientific studies that have been published since 2009, when the recommendations were last assessed.
The Fédération Française des Télécoms noted that mobile operators have worked for more than twenty years to optimise exposures relative to service objectives.