Charges are flying in France that government safety tests on cellphone radiation failed to check where phones are mostly carried—in pants and shirt pockets. Nine of ten phones exceed safe levels in those places.

The French National Frequency Agency released the results this month as the result of a court order obtained by health advocates.

Dr. Marc Arazi tweet on #Phonegate

Dr. Marc Arazi tweet on #Phonegate

Dr. Marc Arazi, a medical doctor and radiation health activist, said “I am deeply concerned about what this means for our health and especially the health of our children. People have a right to know that when cellphones are tested in ways people commonly use them—such as in direct contact with the body—the radiation values exceed regulatory limits. This is a first victory for transparency in this industry scandal.”

Apple, Motorola, Samsung and Nokia were among the brands tested. When held close to the body, some phones emitted radiation three hundred percent as high as the manufacturers’ reported levels.

Arazi, Devra Davis, Ph.D., founder of the Environmental Health Trust, and other health advocates have coined the phrase “PhoneGate” and are comparing it to diesel emission tests that were conducted in laboratories rather than on the road.

Volkswagen cars passed in the laboratory but “emitted far more fumes” when tested on the road, said Davis.

Dr. Devra Davis Devra Davis, Ph.D.

“This is an enormous international scandal,” she continued. “This is not only about France and Europe but to all persons who use cellphones in every country. If phones were tested in the ways we use them, they would be illegal.”

Similar findings were obtained by a U.S. Federal Communications Commission certified laboratory as part of an investigation by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., she said. 

Children at Risk—Davis

Theodora Scarato, program director, Environmental Health Trust, said the American Academy of Pediatrics has “repeatedly called on the U.S. government to update cellphone testing to reflect current use patterns.”

“I see children cradling cellphones in their laps as their mothers do grocery shopping,” said Scarato. “Teenagers are sleeping with cellphones on their chests or directly beside their heads all night long. Pregnant women put phones on wireless devices on their abdomens.”

She notes that France’s National Agency of Health Security of Food, Environment and Labour, in a July 2016 report “Radiofrequency Exposure and the Health of Children” conceded that the public is largely unaware of instructions to keep a distance between cell phones and anyone’s head and body.

ANSES stated that it was “unlikely that people, especially children, are aware of the conditions of use close to the body, as defined by manufacturers.”

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) independent survey of more than 11,000 Canadians found that more than 80 percent were unaware of manufacturers’ recommended separation distance and 67 percent admitted they carry their phones against their bodies.

The newly released French data is also corroborated in the 2017 independently commissioned investigation by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that tested popular cell phones in a US government certified testing laboratory and finding Specific Absorption Rate values surpassed the US and Canadian allowable safety limits when the phones were tested in body contact positions. In response to the CBC report, manufacturers stated they were fully compliant.

Flynn Sees Corporate Control

AT&T ($3.3B in ads), Comcast ($3B), and Verizon ($2.5B) are blocking press coverage of the dangers of Wi-Fi and other forms of radiation, says Jerry Flynn, retired Canadian Army officer. The three are among the top five advertisers. The only company with a bigger ad budget is Procter & Gamble at $4.6B. Ford also spends $2.5B in ads. 

Flynn, who was involved in Electronic Warfare and Signals Intelligence, made his charge June 9 in an email to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“North America’s mainstream news media is now controlled by just a handful of multinational corporations who control what we see on TV, what we hear on the radio and what we read in newspapers,” said Flynn.

“Consequently, few people know the corruption that has taken place over the past 50 years – and is ongoing – which now literally threatens life on earth as we know it!” he said. 

“Like all North Americans, Canadians are unaware that the wireless and telecommunications, and electric power industries control virtually all levels of government in North America! Only the Internet reveals that cancer clusters are not uncommon in jurisdictions around the world that have allowed cell phone towers!”

Major Players Back Wi-Fi

Mobile & Wireless Forum
Wi-Fi Alliance

Sponsors of Wi-Fi and other wireless devices say that there is no evidence their use is harmful to users including adults, children and senior citizens. wi-fi.org says the safe use of radio waves has been studied for more than 60 years by independent scientists and "no adverse health effects have been found at or below recommended limits."

"Wi-Fi uses the same radio waves that are a common part of our everday lives," says wi-fi.org. "They provide TV, radio and an increasing array of mobile communications services."

The Mobile & Wireless Forum says the safety standards that it supports are based on “the best available scientific data.”

Members are Apple, Cisco, Ericsson, Hawel, LG, Intel, Motorola, Samsung, Microsoft, Sony and Tet Mobile. 

MWF says “Health and safety, particularly of children, are of paramount importance. Wi-Fi and other wireless products are subject to international exposure standards set by health organizations around the world and endorsed by WHO and other health organizations. The standards are science-based and developed to protect the public and include a substantial margin of safety, taking into account the elderly, ill, pregnant and children.”

Main Threat Ignored, Say Critics

Critics say wi-fi.org and mwfai.org ignore how cellphones and computers are actually used: children and others press them to their ears and mouth; carry them in pockets next to the body; sleep near them or near a cordless phone base, and place wireless “tablet” and "laptop" computers on their laps. Wiring computers, keyboard and the computer mouse is also a cheap and easy way to avoid danger that companies fail to advise, they say.

Ed Friedman of the Maine Coalition to Stop Smart Meters said most government microwave radiation exposure standards for phones and other wi-fi devices are "obsolete and irrelevant." FCC standards in the U.S. date back to 1996 based on data from the mid 1980’s, he said. “They were meant to be protective only of heat-producing exposures and no consideration is given to non-thermal exposures which we encounter everyday with wireless technologies. Even the thermal standards were based on exposure to a physically fit 200 pound soldier, not children, the elderly, ill,  pregnant or other sensitive populations."