French health officials want cell phone users to be better informed of potential risks and are urging them to take precautionary steps to limit their radiation exposures.
The move comes after an government health and safety agency (ANSES) issued an October 21 advisory warning the public not to carry phones in shirt or trouser pockets.
The French government wants the European Commission to require measurements indicating how much energy is absorbed (SAR) when the phone is next to the body —that is, with the phone in simulated contact with the user. Current protocols allow a 5 mm separation.
On October 25, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health issued a statement with these key points:
1. France will ask the European Commission to reinforce the requirements for new mobile phones put on the market. As recommended by the National Agency for Safety, Environment and Labor (ANSES), the Government will request that the approval tests be carried out in contact with the apparatus, and not 5 mm away as is currently the case. This will be more representative of actual exposures;
2. The National Frequency Agency (ANFR) will develop tools to improve user information:
- The mobile application “Open Barres” will be completed by the end of the year to allow each user to know the emissions of his mobile phone model;
- The recommended usage distance will also be indicated on the ANFR website, which already cites distances for the telephones checked, as well as the “Open Barres” application. If there is cooperation from manufacturers, they will be available by the end of the year.
3. The Government will bring together major manufacturers to take voluntary steps to update the software of their models already on the market, before the adoption of recent, more restrictive emission standards;
4. ANFR’s monitoring of products placed on the market will be increased by 30% in 2020.
The government reaffirmed its advice that users take these safety steps:
1. Use a hands-free kit
2. Favor text messages over phone calls
3. Favor areas with good reception
4. Avoid holding your phone to the ear when in a car, bus or train
5. Pick a mobile phone with a low SAR
6. Avoid long conversations
The full announcement (in French) is here, an English version is here.
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 Adapted from Google Translate.