The French Health Agency is to review exposure limit values
Press Release Oct. 6 2023 by PRIARTEM
At yesterday’s 5 October meeting of the National Frequency Dialogue Committee, ANSES announced that its experts would begin work next week on a major review of radiofrequency exposure limits.
The review follows the publication on 11 September of an initial opinion (1) assessing the limit values currently applicable in France, based on the work of a body that is regularly and widely criticised (2) by international scientists for its unscientific methods and potential conflicts of interest.
The French Agency‘s experts will therefore begin their methodological work “by drawing on similar expert assessments carried out by the Agency on other topics (LEDs, possibly chemical substances), with the aim of proposing a suitable method and new exposure limit values“, according to the terms of the referral from the Ministries of Health and Ecological Transition, which adds that “this work will contribute to the work carried out by the European Commission“.
Sophie PELLETIER, President of PRIARTEM, is delighted: “ANSES has experience of producing Toxicological Reference Values and a serious ethical framework. The result can only be greater protection against exposure. In fact, ANSES will take into account the fact that we are exposed on a continuous basis, unlike the current regulatory values – recommended by Europe – which, according to ANSES, improperly extend the values produced for short-term exposure to lifetime exposure”. (3)
François VETTER, CNAFAL representative on the dialogue committee added: “ANSES very clearly reiterates its disagreement with the way in which the protection of children is dealt with in the current standards, which it does not consider to be sufficiently protective. It is inconceivable to have values that do not protect the most vulnerable: pregnant women, children and teenagers, the elderly, the chronically ill, people with epilepsy or electrosensitivity, etc.“
For Stephen KERCKHOVE, General Delegate of AGIR POUR L’ENVIRONNEMENT, “This is the first time that flora and fauna have been taken into account in the limit values for radio frequencies, like any other environmental impact factor. This is a good thing to help combat the collapse of biodiversity. This is in line with the very recent opinion of the European Economic and Social Council, which recommends studying and taking measures on electromagnetic fields as part of the New Deal for pollinators”. (4)
As ANSES’ criticisms concern serious matters and the work involved in developing new methods and values promises to be very lengthy, the associations are calling for the precautionary principle to be applied in the meantime by imposing the ALARA principle for all (5) and a principle of non-degradation of the electromagnetic environment. Firstly, they reiterate their request to the government to suspend (6) the draft European regulations aimed at speeding up the deployment of 5G.
3 Cf p 29 of the report cited in note 1.
5 The ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) principle already applies to pregnant women in the context of occupational exposure.