Answering questions on radio waves
The wireless telecommunications equipment operated and marketed by Orange, including mobile phones, tablets and other connected objects, emit radio waves, without which they would be unable to function.
In certain countries, exposure to radio waves, and notably antennas, has raised concerns about their potential health effects.
The scientific community has been working on this subject for over 20 years. To date, no effect on health has been uncovered. However, in the absence of results from complementary studies currently underway, notably focusing on children and long-term use, certain health authorities have advised different precautions for use, intended to reduce exposure to radio waves from mobile phones.
Based on the results of studies notably relating to the use of mobile terminals, in May 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a specialised agency that is part of the World Health Organization (WHO), classified radio waves in Group 2B of its categories, i.e. as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”.
In its February 2014 World Cancer Report, the IARC-WHO nevertheless recalled that “no veritable link has been found between mobile phone use and brain cancer”.
Likewise, in its October 2014 Fact Sheet on mobiles, as in the one dating from June 2011, “To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use.”
The most recent opinions and reports from national health authorities in France (October 2013), the UK (February 2014) and Sweden (May 2014) as well as the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIRH) (March 2015) confirm the previous opinions, i.e. once again, the absence of proven health effects from electromagnetic fields below the recommended limits set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
As a matter of fact, the only health effect recognised by all health agencies worldwide, based on thousands of scientific studies published over more than 20 years, is that of a thermal effect.
For 20 years, Orange has proactively taken part in this debate, relaying the information and recommendations on usage to its stakeholders. These measures are based on 5 cornerstones:
- Transparent communication with various stakeholders on radio waves and communication technologies, with the help of adapted tools for information and dialogue
- Contribution to research efforts, notably via Orange Labs, focusing on dosimetry in national and international programmes in the field of wireless communications in order to ensure the respect of local regulations (when these exist) or that international regulations apply in their absence.
- Promotion of proper use of mobile phones as recommended by authorities
- Guidance of personnel working near or on antennas with regards to security precautions