Phonegate Alert Comments on Peer Review of NTP’s Draft Technical Reports on Cellphone Radiation

Phonegate Alert submits new comments on the peer review of the National Toxicology Program’s draft technical reports on cellphone radio-frequency radiation.  In March 2018, the external peer scientists reviewers strengthened the conclusions of the NTP reports that found clear evidence of health harm from exposure to cellphone radiation in rats. The scientific knowledge of the potential impacts of cellphone radiation on our health and the health of our children should no longer be ignored. Especially in the context of a complete bankruptcy of the international regulatory system at the origin of the Phonegate health and industrial scandal.

Phonegate Alert comments to NTP 20 June meeting

To support Dr Arazi and Phonegate alert team actions

Opinion “The Phonegate scandal prey to business secrecy” published by Mediapart

Today, June 12, 2018, the confidentiality clause was established at European level, included in Directive 2014/53/EU for all mobile devices at risk to human health (mobile phones, tablets, laptops and connected toys for children…).  This has taken place at the same time as the European directive on business secrecy is in the process of being adopted by the French National Assembly and the Senate despite exceptional citizen mobilization.

To mark this black day, Dr. Marc Arazi, President of Phonegate Alert, and Mr. Jérôme Karsenti, lawyer at the Paris Bar, cosigned this opinion piece, published on the guest blog of Mediapart on 11 June 2018.

Read the article and please relay widely to those around you.

 The Phonegate scandal prey to business secrecy

 Marc Arazi and Jérôme Karsenti denounce the entry into force of the confidentiality clause of the European directive which allows « the manufacturers of mobile devices to benefit from total confidentiality for products they will place on the European market that may be a risk to human health ».

12 JUNE 2018 will remain a sad date for all citizens who for a number of weeks have been protesting against the control of the business world over public health and environmental violations denounced by many media representatives and whistleblowers.

Telephony manufacturers in particular will soon be completely protected to produce and sell phones whose harmfulness can no longer be denounced.

On June 14, 2018, the National Assembly, despite a petition that collected more than 570,000 signatures, and the mobilization of NGOs and associations committed to public freedom, will pass the law establishing the directive on business secrecy.

This law establishes business secrecy as a principle without its definition making it possible to determine its form. It no longer protects media companies that could be prosecuted before commercial courts. It excludes whistleblowers from the protection of the Sapin 2 law when a trade secret is alleged, thus protecting telephony manufacturers from any revelations about the risks to public health posed by the manufacture of phones.

14 June 2018 is two days after the entry into force of the final phase of the Directive 2014/53/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on the harmonization of the laws of the Member States relating to making mobile devices available on the market and transposed into French law by the Order of 21 April 2016 and the Decree of 21 April 2017. This is the date chosen by the Directive to allow mobile device manufacturers to benefit from total confidentiality for the products they place on the European market that may present a risk to human health.

Billions of devices which make up our daily lives are directly concerned, such as Wi-Fi, multimedia tablets, Wi-Fi routers, laptops, Bluetooth devices, mobile phones, remote-controlled toys, GPS devices, in fact all the devices using electromagnetic waves.

Products with health risks:  secrecy becomes the rule

For this powerful economic sector, the European Commission has chosen to endorse a system which will guarantee (in Article 5) total secrecy for manufacturers concerning « types of radio equipment within categories affected by a low level of compliance with the essential requirements set out in Article 3.” It is specifically this section that requires that these devices ensure « the protection of health and safety of persons and of domestic animals ».

Technocratic cynicism is total. The established Directive lays down the principle of health protection, but immediately sets out a protective exception for companies which would not respect the principle that has been laid down. It even ensures them an unstoppable system of protection: « the commission makes available to manufacturers a central system allowing manufacturers to register the required information. That system shall ensure appropriate control of access to information of confidential nature”.

Tailor-made regulations to protect manufacturers from legal action

This new Directive, which cancels and replaces RED Directive 1999, is to be viewed in a very specific context.  Indeed, since July 2016, « Phonegate Alert » has warned the public and public authorities of a complete failure of European and international regulations that has allowed manufacturers to overexpose hundreds of millions of mobile phone users in their real use of these devices, in contact with their bodies, for more than twenty years.

We know from tests carried out by the French National Frequencies Agency (ANFR) between 2012 and 2016 on several hundred mobile phones that the Specific Absorption Rates (SAR) (1) are well above European regulatory limits (2W/kg), some of which may exceed the authorized thresholds by nearly 4 times, and even more if we refer to the American standards (1.6W/kg), some smartphones being real microwaves in our pockets, exceeding 25 W/kg.

For the past two years, ANFR has been trying to use all kinds of delaying tactics to keep these tests secret. Following the actions taken by Dr. Marc Arazi  before the Commission for Access to Administrative Documents (CADA), then before the Administrative Tribunal, the agency in charge of radio frequency control had to set up a DATA site on 1 June 2017, then on 8 March 2018, publish nearly 443 mobile phone test reports.

But ANFR definitely has a problem with transparency. It still refuses to publish original test reports signed by certified laboratories.

The question we are asking publicly is: will it be possible from 12 June to continue to obtain this information and to communicate it to the public?

And even more, if we have some tests performed on mobile phones sold in France, we have no idea of the exposure levels generated by tablets and laptops that are on the lap of users for hours each day, especially children and young people.

Economic law stronger than democracy:  its weapon “secrecy”

At a time when the government is in the process of legislating and transposing the European Directive on « business secrecy » into French law, the application of Directive 2014/53/EU, which has so far concerned no one, would nevertheless give new prominence to the attack on the freedom of information and the obstacle that this constitutes for whistleblowers.

A company’s information or know-how is secret if three conditions are met under Article 1 of the law on business secrecy:

  • It is information known by a limited number of people;
  • It has a commercial value because of its secret character;
  • It is subject to specific safeguards « including an explicit statement that the information is confidential.” (Amendment No. 57).

Thus this tautological formulation allows a company to protect any information it wishes to be covered by business secrecy. In short, business secrecy covers what the company decides to consider as secret.  Unstoppable and efficient. The law has no say and it will be up to the company to define the scope of the information and know-how it wishes to cover with the sacred seal of secrecy.

It would have been possible and easy to amend the text by reversing the burden of proof and requiring the victimized company to demonstrate the violation of its know-how or confidential information in order to benefit from it. It could also have been relevant for the legislator to limit from Art 1 what does not fall within the scope of business secrecy and to make a non-exhaustive list that would make it possible to understand its sense: the environmental and health impact, the working conditions of employees, information of a fiscal nature, etc….

To avoid any polemical implication, the proposed legislation should have restricted the scope of business secrecy to competitive situations only.

The principle of this law is quite different. Business secrecy will be fully protected until proven otherwise, thus allowing companies and groups in a dominant position to silence any detractor who would attempt disclosure solely for reasons of general interest or public information, by using « gag procedures » at will.

The Sapin 2 law had given whistleblowers a status and a role that the transposition of the law definitively undermines.

The « business secrecy » law protects those who would have revealed in good faith, « a fault, a reprehensible act or an illegal activity », which limits the area of the authorized disclosure to these three acts.  Thus, many of the revelations of recent years (Mediator for example), would not be covered by the exceptions. The notion of « good faith » that was not in the directive is added to the law, further increasing the burden of proof for those who will have to defend themselves against accusations of unjustified disclosures.

But the great perversity of the law resides in the rest of the text which adds « including when exercising the right of alert as defined by article 6 of the law of 9 December 2016 » (Sapin 2).

Article 6 of the Sapin law not only excluded for whistleblowers facts, information or documents covered by medical secrecy, professional secrecy between a lawyer and his client, and national defense secrecy, but also protected them for revelations which concern « a serious threat or prejudice to the public interest », which is much broader than the three cases of the business secrecy law alone.

The « including » of the law thus requires the whistleblower to comply with the text of the « business secrecy” law and consequently adds a fourth covered secret, « business secret ». Thus, in the course of the transposition of a directive, the French Parliament has just gutted the substance of the Sapin 2 Law on whistleblowers who will no longer be protected when they reveal facts that companies have wished to protect. Several Members proposed by amendment to replace « including » with « or », which would exclude any risk to whistleblowers. Without success…

Thus, the strength of the lobbies within the European institutions gradually contributes to stifling citizens’ resistance capacities by silencing them by means of texts that crush freedom.

The Phonegate scandal (2) was just beginning to be known to the public following the withdrawal from the French market, in recent days, of the first phones at risk to health. The latest regulatory surge may have definitively shut down the possibility of revelations about major health risks for the hundreds of millions of users of mobile devices.

Citizens and consumers are well aware that behind these cynical texts, dictated by economic powers, is not only the threat to health and the environment, but also and above all the seizure of political power by groups of influence indifferent to human destiny.

14 June 2018 will in future symbolize the day of action for unfailing transparency in defense of the general interest of European citizens.

(1) The Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) represents the amount of energy carried by radio frequency waves received by the user of a mobile device (e.g. mobile phone)

(2) The origin of the term “Phonegate” is attributed to the “Le Monde” journalist, Pierre Le Hir, in a 23 December 2016 article entitled « Soupçons sur les ondes des téléphones portables ».

Signatories:

Jérôme Karsenti, lawyer at the Paris Bar and member of the National Bar Council

Dr. Marc Arazi, President of the NGO Phonegate Alert

Tribune « Le scandale du Phonegate à l’épreuve du secret des affaires » publiée par Mediapart

C’est aujourd’hui, 12 juin 2018, que se met en place à l’échelon européen, la clause de confidentialité, incluse dans la Directive 2014/53/UE, pour tous les équipements radioélectriques à risques pour la santé humaine (téléphones portables, tablettes, ordinateurs et jouets pour enfants connectés,…). Et ce au même moment où la directive européenne sur le secret des affaires est en cours d’adoption à l’Assemblée nationale et au Sénat malgré une mobilisation citoyenne exceptionnelle.

Pour marquer cette date d’une pierre noire, le Dr Marc Arazi, Président d’Alerte Phonegate et Maître Jérôme Karsenti, avocat au barreau de Paris ont co-signé cette tribune publiée, le 11 juin 2018, sur le blog des invités de Mediapart.

Lire la tribune et merci de la relayer le plus largement autour de vous

Children Absorb 2-5 Times Higher Doses of Microwave Radiation than Adults, From Virtual Reality Systems

Experts warn that injuries to vision, hearing and brain could prove irreversible

(Washington DC) In an innovative study published today in Environmental Research, researchers simulated microwave radiation from Virtual Reality(VR) with a video-streaming cell phone in a cardboard box placed in front of the eyes. Specific areas of the eyes and critical parts of the brain absorbed between 2 to 5 times more cell phone radiation in the youngest child model compared to the adult model. Children’s health specialists are concerned that higher exposures to unprecedented levels of microwave radiation pose risks of permanent damage to vision, hearing and brain development, and cancer.

This publication is the first to extend FDA computer-based anatomical modelling used for surgical devices to examine absorption of microwave radiation from cell phones held in virtual reality positions.

The researchers also investigated microwave radiation with the phone at ear contact. They found that a 3-year old child absorbs about twice as much radiation into the cerebellum, and up to  thirtyfold more into the hippocampus–the part of the brain central to memory, emotions, and impulse control.

“When we first began to model cellphone exposures in the brains of toddlers and young children years ago, I never imagined we would see phones placed directly in front of the eyes as children are doing now,” noted study author Professor Claudio Fernandez of the Federal Institute of Rio Grande do Sul, who has previously published several key papers children’s radiation absorption. The researchers initiated this study because children are increasingly using VR systems, that were never evaluated for their health impact.

“Children’s vision, brain and hearing could be permanently impaired by this untested radiation,” stated Devra Davis Ph.D., MPH, a study co-author, and President of Environmental Health Trust (EHT). “This study shows children’s eyes absorb significant amounts of radiation. Children are more vulnerable because their eyes are still developing.  Early life insults could mean earlier vision decline. In addition, the eyes contain few blood vessels, so they have no way to cool off.”

The new paper notes that experimental studies show that prenatally exposed animals produce offspring with impaired brain growth. “In a published review, the majority of studies found that children do absorb relatively higher doses of microwave radiation from mobile phones than adults. The long-term ramifications of such exposures need to be addressed,”  stated co-author Robert Morris M.D., Ph.D., EHT Senior Medical Advisor.

“Two-way microwave radiation transceivers, in the form of Smartphones, should not be used directly in front of children’s eyes and brains,” cautions University of Utah Prof. Om Gandhi, an electrical engineer who is one of the original developers of cell phone testing protocols.

“Current cell phone compliance testing does not account for children’s physiology. This new research highlights the importance of realistic modelling of radiation into the different tissues of the eyes and brain. Equally important, there needs to be pre-market testing and modeling of phones in the new ways that people are using phones, such as directly in front of the face as is done with these smartphone enabled virtual reality systems.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics along with the Health Departments of Connecticut, California  and Maryland State Advisory Board on Children’s Health recommend prudent measures should be taken to reduce wireless radiation exposure to children. Cardboard virtual reality holders are marketed to parents and school administrators who are unaware of the risks to children’s health,”  stated Theodora Scarato Executive Director of Environmental Health Trust.

Another study author, Meg Sears, associate at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute in Canada, and Chair of Prevent Cancer Now, stated: “Children should be protected from microwave radiation. For any wireless device, using airplane mode after an adult downloads the program will greatly reduce microwave radiation.”  She added, “The same radiation powering communications is used in chemical industries and products to accelerate reactions. This is efficient in commercial biochemistry, but can spell trouble during sensitive brain development.”

“The French government has just recalled thousands of cell phones because their tests found most cell phones exceeded current test limits for radiation by as much as four fold,” stated Davis referring to the recent large scale cellular phone recalls and software updates (Echo Star Plus,  the Alcatel PIXI 4,  the Honor 8, the Neffos X1 and the Hapi30, Orange.) She stated that even more recalls are expected as the European Union has updated their cell phone testing protocols after the government of France releasedhundreds of cell phone radiation tests that measured excessive radiation exposures when the phone was tested in contact with the body. The release of the test data folowed pressure from the Phonegate Alert Association.

“Studies of the developing brain have led the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to issue guidelines to keep toxic exposures to lead and other agents as low as feasible during childhood,” commented Dr. Davis, a former Senior Advisor to the CDC Lead Poisoning Advisory Committee and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  “We require special seatbelts and carseats as well as bike helmets for the young, recognizing that they merit greater protection. It makes no sense to assume that they can safely be exposed to levels of radiation that have never been evaluated for their long-term impacts on growth and development, especially in light of growing evidence that such radiation can damage plants, migrating insects, and other animals, and increase the risk of cancer,” she noted.  

C. Fernández, A.A. de Salles, M.E. Sears, R.D. Morris, D.L. Davis, Absorption of wireless radiation in the child versus adult brain and eye from cell phone conversation or virtual reality, Environmental Research, Available online 5 June 2018, ISSN 0013-9351, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2018.05.013.
(https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935118302561)

About Environmental Research

Environmental Research publishes original reports describing studies of the adverse effects of environmental agents on humans and animals. The principal aim of the journal is to assess the impact of chemicals and microbiological pollutants on human health. Both in vivo and in vitro studies, focused on defining the etiology of environmentally induced illness and to increase understanding of the mechanisms by which environmental agents cause disease, are especially welcome. Investigations on the effects of global warming/climate change on the environment and public health, as well as those focused on the effects of anthropogenic activities on climate change,  are also of particular interest.

About Environmental Health Trust

EHT is a scientific virtual think tank conducting cutting-edge research on environmental health risks with some of the world’s top researchers. EHT educates individuals, health professionals, and communities about policy changes needed to reduce those risks. EHT maintains a regularly updated database of worldwide precautionary policies: more than a dozen countries recommend reducing wireless exposure to children.

This press release with images can be found online at https://ehtrust.org/new-publication-children-absorb-2-5-times-higher-doses-of-microwave-radiation-than-adults-from-virtual-reality-systems/

« Series of recalls of dangerous mobile phones » by Le Lanceur

On June 8, 2018, the site « Le Lanceur” published a new article on the industrial and health scandal of Phonegate. It is the seventh article in 18 months that it has devoted to this public health issue. In December 2016, it was the first media to relay the alert launched by Dr. Marc Arazi.

A big thank you to the editorial team and the journalist Antoine Sillières for their investigative work. It is also the only media for the moment to have made the link to our action following the withdrawal and updates of four new mobile phones.

It must also be noted that public broadcasting has been totally absent for months with regard to this affair. Why? In any case, certainly not for not having received our press releases regularly and trying to contact them so that the newsrooms (France2, France3, FranceInfo, France5, RadioFrance, …) inform the tens of millions of users of mobile phones of the danger to their health.

In this new article, our attention was particularly drawn to a quotation attributed to Olivier Merckel, Head of the Unit for assessment of risks related to physical agents at ANSES (French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety):   “When the SARs of the tested phones show values lower than the limits, the health effects considered as proven by ICNIRP [International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection] are dismissed. For the general public, the safety factor applied by ICNIRP is 50.  Thus the first effects considered by ICNIRP should not be observed at 2 W/kg but rather at 100 W/kg for an « average » that is representative of the general population.  Beyond these well-known effects, the question is whether other effects could be observed at lower exposure levels”.

We strongly contest this figure of 100 W kg, which is purely and simply an invention that, to our knowledge, has never been included in any ICNIRP document or in any scientific document.

So we will write, in the next few days, to ANSES, to ask for clarification of this statement by Mr. Merckel. This is all the more worrying when we know that in October 2017, the Directorate General of Health (DGS) and the Directorate General for Risk Prevention (DPR) entrusted a mission to ANSES to assess the health risks to users of mobile phones whose SAR levels exceed the regulatory thresholds of 2 W/kg and may be greater than 7 W/kg.

In this regard, despite several requests, both the Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, Mr. Nicolas Hulot, and the Minister for Solidarity and Health, Mrs. Agnès Buzyn, have not yet transmitted to us the letter entrusting the mission to ANSES. In this matter, we can make the sad observation of a blatant lack of transparency.

We will come back to this in more detail in an article devoted to this key issue.

Read the article on the site of « Le Lanceur ».

To support Dr Arazi and Phonegate alert team actions       

« Rappels en série de téléphones portables dangereux » par Le Lanceur

Le site « Le Lanceur » a publié, le 8 juin 2018, un nouvel article consacré au scandale industriel et sanitaire du Phonegate. C’est en 18 mois, le septième article, qu’il consacre à cet enjeu de santé publique. En décembre 2016, Il avait été le premier média à relayé l’alerte lancée par le Dr Marc Arazi.

Un grand merci à l’équipe de rédaction et au journaliste Antoine silliéres pour leur travail  d’investigation. C’est d’ailleurs le seul média pour l’instant à avoir fait le lien avec notre action suite au retrait et mises à jour de 4 nouveaux téléphones portables.

Force aussi de constater que l’audiovisuel public est totalement absent depuis des mois de cette affaire. Pourquoi ? En tout cas, certainement pas pour n’avoir pas reçu nos communiqués régulièrement et tenter de les contacter pour que les rédactions (France2, France3, FranceInfo, France5, RadioFrance,…) informent les dizaines de millions d’utilisateurs concernés par le danger pour leur santé.

Dans ce nouvel article, notre attention a été particuliérement attirée par une citation attribuée à Monsieur Olivier Merckel, chef de l’unité d’évaluation des risques liés aux agents physiques à l’ANSES : « “Quand les DAS des téléphones testés affichent des valeurs inférieures aux limites, on s’affranchit des effets considérés comme avérés sur la santé par l’ICNIRP [Commission internationale pour la protection contre les rayonnements non ionisants]. Pour le grand public, le facteur de sécurité appliqué par l’ICNIRP est de 50. Donc les premiers effets considérés par l’ICNIRP ne devraient pas être observés à 2 W/kg mais plutôt à 100 W/kg, pour un représentant “moyen” de la population générale. Au-delà de ces effets bien connus, la question qui se pose est de savoir si d’autres effets pourraient être observés à des niveaux d’exposition inférieurs” ».

Nous contestons avec vigueur ce chiffre de 100 W/kg  qui est purement et simplement une invention qui n’a d’ailleurs, à notre connaissance, jamais figuré dans aucun document de l’ICNIRP ni dans aucun document scientifique.

Nous allons donc écrire, dans les tous prochains jours, à l’ANSES, pour demander une clarification quand à cette affirmation de Monsieur Merckel. Ceci est d’autant plus préoccupant quand on sait que la Direction générale de la santé (DGS) et la Direction de la prévention des risques (DPR) ont confié une mission, en octobre 2017, à l’ANSES afin d’évaluer les risques pour la santé des utilisateurs de téléphones portables dont les DAS dépassent les seuils réglementaires de 2 W/kg et qui peuvent être supérieurs à 7W/kg.

A ce propos et malgré plusieurs demandes, tant au ministre de la transition écologique, Monsieur Nicolas Hulot, qu’à la ministre de la Santé, Madame Agnès Buzyn, la lettre de mission confiée à l’ANSES, ne nous a toujours pas été transmise. Dans ce dossier, nous pouvons faire le triste constat d’un manque criant de transparence.

Nous y reviendrons plus longuement dans un article consacré à cette question essentielle.

Lire l’article du site « Le Lanceur »

« Le Monde » caught red-handed for misinformation on Phonegate

Yesterday, 31 May 2018, the internet site of the newspaper Le Monde published an article entitled « Ondes magnétiques : quatre smartphones épinglés ».  This article written by the journalist Nicolas Six raises the issue of editorial independence when it comes to subjects relating to the mobile telephony industry.

For the record, the title had been purchased in 2010 by businessmen Xavier Niel (Iliad/Free Telecommunications Group), Matthieu Pigasse (CEO of Lazard Bank France) and Pierre Bergé. Since Pierre Bergé’s death in 2017, Mr. Niel and Mr. Pigasse have held 72.5% of the capital of the Le Monde group.

In the first version of the article published at 3.45 p.m., Le Monde writes: « These exceedances do not signal a divergence on the part of manufacturers, but rather the tightening of SAR[1] (specific absorption rate) measurements » under the explicit heading « No worsening of the problem.”

This has the merit of clarity and, to support this implacable assertion, Le Monde is embarking on an attempt to adopt all the wording of the manufacturers in the sector, assisted with complacency by Mr Gilles Brégant, Director General of the National Frequencies Agency (ANFR).

In fourteen lines, Le Monde manages to make one factual error per line. We wonder who took the care to verify the elements from its sources… Indeed :

1. Le Monde indicates a measuring distance of the manufacturers “at a range between 0 and 25 mm”. In fact, this distance was from 15 to 25 mm up until June 2016.  It is precisely this distance which has allowed the manufacturers to overexpose hundreds of millions of users for over 20 years, endangering their health and safety.

2. The European Commission effectively launched a warning in April 2016 and not in “2017”.  Above all, it never “set a distance of 5 mm”.  For the SAR “limbs” it imposes a measurement at 0 mm from the skin and for the SAR “trunk” a measurement at a few millimeters from the skin.  This is one of the points we have been fighting since its entry into force.

3. The article climaxes with, « the threshold of 2W/kg was set taking into account a large safety margin »… « this figure being fifty times lower than the threshold observed by the researchers.” Yes, but that is totally false, the journalist having confused two SARs which have nothing to do with one another, the whole body SAR, and the SAR at contact.  To support this affirmation, it cites a report from the Consumer Safety Commission, published in 2008 and not, as written, in « 2017 », and which the journalist has simply misinterpreted.

Reading this article, Dr. Marc Arazi, President of Phonegate Alert, reached the journalist by phone to share with him all of his remarks.  After various exchanges by phone and SMS, the journalist, not convinced by these arguments, told Dr. Arazi without batting an eyelid: « the article was read again by Gilles Brégant ».  Astonished, to say the least, Dr. Arazi made him repeat the words. Confirmation of the interested party, sure of his facts.

There followed new SMS exchanges.  Faced with the evidence, the journalist of Le Monde wrote an SMS to Dr Arazi at 7.06 p.m.:  « I have cut out the problematic passage.  It will be updated by the correctors within the hour. And I contacted Pierre Le Hir. »

At 8.11 p.m., a new version was on line on the site of Le Monde.  The passage had indeed been removed but the general sense of the article remains the same, and does not make any mention of the exchanges with our president which prompted the update of the article.

But are we satisfied? Absolutely not when we discover that a leading newspaper like Le Monde can in this way destroy the international work of alerting and protecting public health carried out over the past two years against one of the most powerful lobbies on the planet.

On 23 December 2016, Pierre Le Hir, scientific journalist of Le Monde, had published a reference article on the subject entitled: « Soupçons sur les ondes des téléphones portables ». He was the first to use the term « Phonegate », which has since become the reference for this new industrial and health scandal. Yes, but Pierre Le Hir, with whom we have been in regular contact since then, has not written a line in seventeen months.

As you can see from these facts, the readers of Le Monde seem to be reduced to the choice today, of no longer being informed or to be misinformed.  It is a sad reality that we all suffer the consequences which are potentially dramatic when they also directly affect the health of millions of mobile phone users.

We see in what is happening a big blow cutting deep into the confidence of its readers. Attention, we know that there are many great journalists in the world who do quality work to inform and enlighten us on the state of society. But the question we ask publicly:  Is Le Monde still independent enough to speak about the public health issues related to Phonegate?

[1] SAR : specific absorption rate (NDLR).

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« Le Monde » épinglé pour désinformation sur le Phonegate

Le site Internet du journal Le Monde a publié hier, 31 mai 2018, un article intitulé « Ondes magnétiques : quatre smartphones épinglés ». Cet article écrit par le journaliste Nicolas Six pose à tout le moins la question de l’indépendance rédactionnelle quand il s’agit de sujets ayant trait à l’industrie de la téléphonie mobile.

Pour mémoire, le titre avait été racheté en 2010 par les hommes d’affaires Xavier Niel (Groupe de télécommunications Iliad/Free), Matthieu Pigasse (Patron de la banque Lazard) et Pierre Bergé. Depuis la mort de Pierre Bergé en 2017, MM. Niel et Pigasse possèdent 72,5 % du capital du groupe Le Monde.

Dans la première version de l’article publié à 15h45, le Monde écrit : « Ces dépassements ne signalent pas pour autant un dérapage de la part des fabricants, mais plutôt le resserrement des mesures de DAS[1] (débit d’absorption spécifique) » sous l’intertitre sans équivoque « Pas d’aggravation du problème. »

Cela a le mérite de la clarté et, pour appuyer cette implacable affirmation, le Monde part dans une tentative de démonstration, reprenant à son compte l’ensemble des éléments de langage des industriels du secteur servie avec complaisance par Monsieur Gilles Brégant, Directeur Général de l’Agence nationale des fréquences (ANFR).

En quatorze lignes, le Monde arrive à faire une erreur factuelle par ligne. On en vient à se demander qui a pris le soin de vérifier les éléments provenant de ses sources… En effet :

  1. Ce dernier indique une distance de mesure des fabricants « située entre 0 et 25 mm ». En fait cette distance était de 15 à 25 mm jusqu’en juin 2016. Et c’est justement cette différence qui a permis aux industriels de surexposer pendant plus de 20 ans des centaines de millions d’utilisateurs et ainsi de mettre en danger leur santé et leur sécurité.
  2. La Commission européenne a affectivement lancée une mise en garde en avril 2016 et non en « 2017 » mais surtout elle n’a jamais « fixé de distance à 5 mm ». Elle impose pour le DAS « membre » une mesure à 0 mm de la peau et pour le DAS « tronc » une mesure à quelques millimètres de la peau. C’est un des points que nous combattons depuis son entrée en vigueur.
  3. L’article se finit en apothéose, « le seuil de 2W/kg a été fixé en tenant compte d’une importante marge de sécurité » … « ce chiffre étant cinquante fois moins élevé que le seuil constaté par les chercheurs. » Oui mais voilà, c’est totalement faux, le journaliste ayant confondu deux DAS qui n’ont rien à voir entre eux, le DAS corps entier, et les DAS de contact.  Pour appuyer sa démonstration, il met en lien vers un rapport de la Commission de sécurité des consommateurs. Rapport publié en 2008 et non comme écrit en « 2017« , et que le journaliste a tout bonnement mal interprété.

A la lecture de cet article, le Dr Arazi, Président d’Alerte Phonegate, a joint au téléphone le journaliste pour lui faire part de l’ensemble de ses remarques. Après différents échanges au téléphone et par SMS, ce dernier pas convaincu par ces arguments, lui dit sans sourciller : « l’article a été relu par Gilles Brégant ». Étonné pour le moins, le Dr Arazi lui a fait répéter. Confirmation de l’intéressé, sur de son fait.

S’en suivirent de nouveaux échanges de SMS et devant l’évidence, le journaliste du Monde écrit par SMS au Dr Arazi à 19h06 : « j’ai coupé le passage problématique, il sera updaté par les correcteurs dans l’heure. Et j’ai contacté Pierre le Hir. »

A 20h11, une nouvelle version est en ligne sur le site du Monde, le passage a été effectivement enlevé mais le sens général de l’article reste le même, et ne fait aucune mention des échanges avec notre Président qui ont motivé la mise à jour de l’article.

 

Sommes-nous pour autant satisfaits ? Absolument pas quand nous découvrons qu’un journal de référence comme Le Monde peut de cette façon réduire à néant un travail international d’alerte et de protection de la santé publique mené depuis deux ans face à un des plus puissants lobbies de la planète.

Pierre Le Hir, journaliste scientifique du Monde, avait pourtant publié, le 23 décembre 2016, un article de référence sur le sujet intitulé : « Soupçons sur les ondes des téléphones portables ». Il a été le premier à utiliser le terme « Phonegate », devenu depuis la référence pour parler de ce nouveau scandale industriel et sanitaire. Oui mais voilà, ce dernier, avec qui nous sommes en contact régulièrement depuis, n’a plus écrit une ligne en dix-sept mois.

Comme vous le comprenez au travers de ces éléments factuels, les lecteurs du Monde semblent être réduits au choix aujourd’hui, de ne plus être informés ou d’être désinformés ? Triste réalité que nous subissons tous et dont les conséquences sont potentiellement dramatiques quand elles touchent aussi directement la santé de millions d’utilisateurs de téléphones portables.

Nous voyons dans ce qui se passe un gros coup de canif porté à la confiance de ses lecteurs. Attention, nous savons qu’il y a de nombreux et grands journalistes au Monde, qui font un travail de qualité pour informer et éclairer sur l’état de la société. Mais la question que nous posons publiquement : Le Monde est-il toujours suffisamment indépendant pour parler des enjeux de santé publique liés au Phonegate ?

[1] DAS : débit d’absorption spécifique (NDLR).

« Electromagnetic radiation: Four smartphone manufacturers pinpointed » 01.net

In an article published yesterday on the site 01.net, the journalist Camille Suard revisited the announcements of ANFR with regard to the withdrawal and recall of the Neffos X1 of the Chinese manufacturer TP-Link as well as the updating of the Alcatel PIXI 4-6 (2.4 W/kg, then 1.58 W/kg after the update), the TCL Echo Star Plus (2.01 W/kg, then 1.41 W/kg) and the Honor 8 (2.11 W/kg, then 1.45 W/kg) for exceeding the regulatory thresholds of exposure to the body.

Concerning the damage to the image of the manufacturers, we fully agree with the journalist: « The Honor 8  (2.11 W/kg then 1.45 W/kg)… is a very popular smartphone that has allowed the affiliate Huawei to establish a sound reputation of good value for money.  Even if the problem can be corrected directly by the user through installing the latest update of the phone, such disclosures are never good news for the image of the brand. »  

We note that to date, none of the four manufacturers has made the least public comment on the overexposure of its customers, users of phones exceeding the regulatory thresholds protecting their health and safety.

Our advice to owners of these phones:
– keep all proof of purchase and use (phone bill, operator bill)
– within the framework of the exchange, do not sign anything without asking for advice (do not hesitate to send the documents via Email to the Phonegate Alert team)

These phones are also sold in many other countries, and for now, the European authorities remain silent on the matter.  We will keep you informed of our team’s progress on this subject.

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