My interview to Belga News Agency

My interview to Belga News Agency
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BRUSSELS 02/06 (BELGA) = On Thursday, the French National Frequency Agency (ANFR) published the results of tests carried out between 2012 and 2016 on 379 mobile phones.  This data shows that many mobile phones exceed the maximum radiation levels when tested in contact with the body.  This has not prevented them from being declared compliant because at that time, the tests could be conducted at a distance of up to 25 mm from the skin.  This data also concerns Belgian consumers: the rules in question are European and the ones for Belgium are based on French tests.

In order to understand the significance of this data, it should be noted that the European legislation requires manufacturers to limit the levels of radiation of mobile phones as a health precaution.  This is calculated as a “Specific Absorption Rate” (SAR), a physical quantity which corresponds to the energy absorbed by the body per unit of time and mass.  The maximum SAR is 2 W/kg for the head and trunk and 4 W/kg for the limbs.

Until 2012, the attention of the authorities focused mainly on the SAR head.  But the development of smartphones and the use for example of headsets have increased interest in tests relating to the SAR trunk, explains ANFR in a press release.

Problem:  the current European regulations were rather vague, since the manufacturers could choose a distance between 0 and 25 mm to measure the SAR trunk (the SAR head has always been measured in contact with the ear).  Nine out of 10 mobile phones exceeded the thresholds when tested in contact with the skin of the body.

In April 2016, at the request of France, the formulation of the harmonized European standard was revised.  The devices must be tested in contact with the skin for the SAR that concerns the limbs (as for the head), and at a maximum distance of “a few millimeters” for the trunk.  In practice, this is 5 mm maximum, assures ANFR.  However, a transitional period is foreseen up until 12 June 2017 for models already marketed before this change.  For phones already purchased, nothing changes.

Citizens therefore asked that test data carried out before April 2016 be made public, which ANFR refused.  Marc Arazi, former coordinator for the environmental association, Priartem, had in vain entered into interlocutory proceedings for this purpose.

The publication on Thursday of this data by ANFR, «contrary to all expectations”, is “an initial victory for our action towards more transparency in the health and industrial scandal which echoes Dieselgate,” said Marc Arazi.

For its part, ANFR insists that all devices tested between 2012 and 2016 comply with the current regulations.  The tests are carried out with a mobile phone emitting at maximum power, which is rarely the case in practice, ANFR emphasizes.     

To access all the data, by make and model of mobile phone: 

https://data.anfr.fr/explore/dataset/das-telephonie-mobile/?disjunctive.marque&disjunctive.modele.

/.CDU/CLA

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