09/06/2015 2 min

Exposure of children to radiofrequency waves: ANSES launches a public consultation

Today ANSES launches a public consultation of its pre-final report on the assessment of health risks for children associated with exposure to radiofrequency waves. Members of the scientific community and interested stakeholders are invited to provide their comments on the report through an on-line public consultation which will be open through 20 July 2015. The objective is to gather additional scientific comments and data that can be taken into account in the final version of the expert assessment report.

Radiofrequency waves have been a major topic of concern for health, the environment and society for several years in both France and abroad. This has led the Agency, in answer to requests from its supervisory ministries, to publish various opinions and collective expert assessment reports (in 2003, 2005 and 2009, and the most recent, in 2013).

As early as 2003, ANSES recommended reinforcing research on the potential health effects of mobile telephone use by children. Due to use of wireless electronic devices at an early age, the prolonged duration of these individuals’ exposure once adults, and also the anatomical and physiological specificities of children (size, weight, sensitivity of developing organs and physiological functions), they must be considered as a particular vulnerable population group with regard to radiofrequency wave exposure.

While many wireless electronic devices for children are available on the market (touch-screen tablets walki-talkies, baby monitory, etc.), article L.5231-4 of the French public health code provides for the possibility of prohibiting, by an order of the Ministry of Health, the marketing of wireless electronic devices for children that would expose them to excessive levels of radiofrequency waves.

Given the above, the Agency was asked by the Directorate General for Health (DGS), the Directorate General for Risk Prevention (DGPR) and the Directorate General for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) to identify the potential health risks of wireless electronic device use by or near children.  

Launch of a public consultation on the pre-final report 

ANSES selected over 200 studies on the effects of electromagnetic radiation on the human body, with a concentration on child exposure – from the embryo up through adolescence –, in order to: 

  • characterise child exposure by identifying the many different sources of exposure to radiofrequency waves specific to children (baby monitors, radio-controlled toys, walkie-talkies, talking robots, mobile phones for children, touch-screen tablets, child locator devices, etc.); 

  • study the potential effects of radiofrequency waves on children's health (nervous system, general well-being, mental health, reproduction and development, carcinogenicity).

Due to the great complexity of this scientific issue, ANSES is launching a public consultation today on the pre-final report on this work. We invite members of the scientific community and all interested stakeholders to send ANSES its comments on this draft report by 20 July 2015 through our online comment form (Only in French).  

The scientific data and comments received will be carefully examined by the Agency's experts specialising in these specific issues in view of their possible integration into the final expert assessment report. This report will be published along with an ANSES opinion. All the comments received, as well as the Agency’s responses, will be placed in an annex to the final report.