Scientific activities > Agents > Mobile telephones & health
Updating of scientific data on biological effects
It was in 2002 that the Agency first received a solicited request from the French Ministries of Health and the Environment on this subject. The objective was to draft a scientific report based on the facts revealed in international publications on the possible health risks of mobile telephones and mobile telephone base station equipment. The opinion issued by the Agency in 2003 clearly highlighted the need to differentiate between base station relay masts and mobile telephones in terms of risk management and assessment.
A second solicited request received in 2004 prompted Afsset to publish a new report on the subject for 2005, taking account of new technologies as well.
In accordance with the missions entrusted to it by the public authorities action plan, Afsset must publish a document updating current knowledge on the possible health risks of mobile telephones on a regular basis. To this end, the Agency maintains ongoing scientific surveillance, assisted by a specialist expert group which was renewed in 2004. Moreover, the French Ministries of Health and the Environment sent a solicited request to Afsse on 3 February 2004 to assess the consequences that could be drawn in terms of health risks, from a Dutch study conducted by the TNO Institute on UMTS radiotelephony relay masts. Working method
As the CSE on physical agents, new technologies and major developments had not yet been set up when this solicited request was received, the expert group created in 2004 to answer this ministerial solicited request indicated that they would like to be renewed, unlike the previous groups (expert assessments of 2001 and 2003). It gathers experts from the research laboratories of Inserm, CNRS and CRSSA, telecommunications engineers, the coordinator of the Interphone European study and the president of the ICNIRP. This working group was set up in July 2004. General points & contextual elements
The mission of this group was first to draw up a list and assess the scientific studies published since the last report issued to the Agency in 2003, and the work currently being published on the possible biological and health effects of mobile telephone and radiocommunication equipment and installations. The documents studied are summary reports or original scientific publications.
In addition, careful attention was paid to work on new and future radiocommunication technologies, whether they involve mobile telephone applications specifically or the mobile telephone environment. Short-range transmissions were concerned in particular, for which an opinion had to be issued in terms of the possible health effects.
The objective of this assessment was not to conduct a full review of current knowledge, but rather to complete the elements of the previous expert assessment report published by the Agency in 2003. The expert group drew up a report that it submitted to Afsse, which issued an opinion on its basis.
The professional aspects of this field were considered from two viewpoints:
1. Possible exposure to radiofrequency fields of workers from mobile telephone installations, especially base stations which are not switched off during interventions;
2. The stress associated with the availability of workers, who can be contacted at any time on their mobile telephones.
An expert assessment report called "Report to Afsse on mobile telephones and health - Edition 2004-2005" together with recommendations was issued to Afsse on 10 February 2005 by the working group set up to address the solicited request.
In their report, the experts provided concrete responses to the questions raised in the solicited request and engagement letter and conducted a broad review of scientific knowledge; they shed new light on technologies currently being used (UMTS, WiFi, Bluetooth, etc.) or developed (fourth-generation systems).
Following this report, Afsse issued an opinion on 7 June 2005 and updated the FAQs section on its website.
Report to the Afsse on mobile telephony and health
Summary on moblies phones
Afsse opinion on mobile telephony
Afsse Statement on mobile phone and health
This translation is not an official or legally approved translation. Please refer to the authentic French version published by Afsset.