With the current level of knowledge, it is “unlikely” that 5G telephony poses “new risks” to health, the National Health Security Agency confirmed on Tuesday in a 2021 update on the controversial technology.
In April 2021, ANSES published this long-awaited opinion, but the very timing of its publication was controversial, as it was published several months after the start of the rollout of this fifth generation of mobile telephony. The debate was heated, and President Emmanuel Macron believed, for example, that moratorium supporters wanted “a return to the oil lamp.”
The agency then calculated that “on the basis of the scientific evidence available to date” it is “unlikely that the deployment of 5G (on frequency bands already deployed in France) poses new health risks”, while acknowledging the lack of research on the matter. certain frequencies.
However, he has begun several weeks of “public consultations” in his opinion, indicating that he may be able to complete them.
More than 200 submissions were collected, whether from individuals, associations or industry, and ANSES also reviewed initial exposure measurements “near 5G relay antennas” by the National Agency for Frequency (ANFR).
Frequencies “very close” to those already in use
The updated opinion concludes that these new elements “support the original findings”. Namely, that for already deployed frequencies very close to those used for previous generations, “general levels of exposure to electromagnetic fields will be comparable to or slightly higher than the levels of existing technologies”, and therefore “it is unlikely that this deployment will lead to new risks for health”.
With regard to the 26 GHz frequency band, not yet used in France, ANSES notes, as in its original opinion, that “at present there is too little evidence to conclude that there is or is not a health effect”.
For the health agency, it was also a matter of “qualifying the remaining uncertainties”, in particular with regard to “intrinsic health effects” and levels of exposure, emphasizes Olivier Merkel, head of physical agent risk assessment at ANSEC.
Therefore, he recommends further research, in particular monitoring the impact and adopting the “rational use” of 5G, in particular for children or, for example, using headset kits.
50,000 antennas already deployed, denounce associations
The NGOs Agir pour l’environnement and Priartem (an association against the risks associated with electromagnetic technologies), which unsuccessfully challenged the 5G rollout in court, deplored the process that “allowed the government to impose 5G” on more than 50,000 antennas already. deployed and denounced the “political instrumentalization of ANSES”.
The agency itself, in publishing its opinion in April 2021, wished that in the future, the examination was carried out “before () deployment” of new technologies.
Olivier Merkel also acknowledges the “constant problem” with the introduction of new technologies that can be made and quickly create new applications, while “the time for research and expertise is inherently long”.