ANSES is the French Government Agency that is responsible for food, environment and occupational health. On Tuesday 15th October 2013 ANSES issued a recommendation that the population reduce it’s exposure to EMF radiofrequencies. This follows IARC’s classification of electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans.
Now for any of you who did not hear that loudly enough, IARC, or the International Agency for Research on Cancer, is part of The World Health Organisation, who in turn are the part of the United Nations that deals with health.
In short, this is a serious body that everyone would do well to heed the advice of.
In May 2011, IARC moved EMFs to the Group 2B classification. Group 1 is the most certain and proved carcinogens and includes a well known list of villains like tobacco, asbestos, plutonium, mustard gas, aflotoxin, arsenic, cadnium, nickel and medicines containing the hormone estrogen such as oral contraceptives and HRT. Group 2A is where a substance is considered probably carcinogenic, often from limited evidence in human and animal studies. This largely consists of chemicals and compounds that are less famous like acrylamide together with a few better known ones like anabolic steriods and sleeping out of circadian rhythm.
Next comes Group 2B, the possibly carcinogenic. To get into this group a suspect needs to have limited studies in humans or animals showing dangers. This is hardly a list of fallen angels as many of the candidates on the list are already notoriously bad for health like DDT, Heptachlor, infection with HIV and lead. At the same time, there’s only been limited studies into whether they cause cancer in humans and so while there will be some studies showing it, there aren’t masses like those in Group 1. At the same time, how many science papers do you want to wait for? Since there are already some showing signs of carcinogenic activity in humans from EMFs and many others showing other health issues such as male fertility issues, there is definitely enough evidence to say we should be cautious.
What is cautious?
- Avoid buying, renting or working in buildings directly by mobile phone masts
- Chose a mobile phone with the lowest SAR rating and even then, use it as little as possible and when you do, try to use it either with a hands-free kit or better still turn on the speaker phone and keep the device away from your head.
- Txt rather than call when possible.
- Avoid using the internet on your mobile if you don’t really need it
- Turn your phone to airplane mode when in a car, bus or train
- Use wired ethernet networks through your existing electrical sockets with adapters like Devolos at home rather than turning on a Wifi hub
- Do not own a microwave
- Turn off the wifi adapter on your laptop/PC if you aren’t using it
- Avoid filing your home with ‘connected’ or ‘smart’ devices that run an internet connection via Wifi
- Do not keep mobile phones in your pockets
- Make children or pregnant women minimise use of mobile phones
Remember, when smoking was new and everyone was taking to it, there was little health effects studies made. It wasn’t till years later it all got smoked out for the monster it really was. So too with the way mobile devices are changing our world. Right now, most of us are fascinated by all the cool new things we can do with this technology and few are looking at the health implications. As it’s relatively new, there are yet to be major long term studies completed. Yet from the evidence we can see to date there is sufficient reason to be cautious as indeed the panel of international scientists at the Selatun Declaration did.
ANSES’ announcement contains in it’s starting paragraph:
…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. Given this information, and against a background of rapid development of technologies and practices, ANSES recommends limiting the population’s exposure to radiofrequencies – in particular from mobile phones – especially for children and intensive users, and controlling the overall exposure that results from relay antennas. It will also be further developing its work on electro-sensitive individuals, specifically by examining all the available French and international data on this topic that merits closer attention.
It’s well known that the US and UK governments are amongst the most lax of Western governments when it comes to protecting it’s people from EMFs. Attempts in various US locations to get better warnings placed on cellphones by the manufacturers, especially on phones popular with children, was blasted for years in the courts by trade bodies fighting on behalf of those with vested interests. Most local governments simply gave up due to lack of funds to fight the cellphone manufacturers. The UK government has been more than sympathetic towards home-grown global wifi pedlars, Vodafone, including letting them off of up to £6 billion in tax as well as promoting them widely overseas. Looking at the facts, it’s easy to see why some suggest that the industry is currently either too big or too in cahoots for citizens to expect governmental regulation, despite many alarming pieces of new information coming to light.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a country where the government realises the health care bill just might top any revenues they get from it, push them to do more. And for the rest of us lucky so and sos, take care. You’ll only have yourself to blame if you overdo it.