France – The Abeille Bill passed – January 2015

The bill on “moderation, transparency and dialogue with respect to exposure to electromagnetic fields” tabled by Rep. Laurence Abeille for the ecologists was adopted after the second reading at the National Assembly. The lower chamber adopted the text as voted by the Senate last June.

The text contains numerous provisions. In particular, it includes the principle of “moderation” in exposure to cell phones, cellular antennas and Wi-Fi boxes. Exposure outliers – i.e. places with exposure above national average, must be taken care of by lowering the public exposure level, subject to technical feasibility, all the while guaranteeing the quality of service.
Obligations for dialogue and transparency at local levels are strengthened and a national committee for dialogue and information relating to public exposure levels is created within the French National Frequency Agency (ANFR).
The enactment also provides for banning all publicity aimed at promoting the use and sale of cell phones for children under the age of 14, the provision of information on the safe use of cell phones, the obligation to show cell phone users wearing a headset in commercials, etc.
Concerning Wi-Fi, the text prohibits the installation of Wi-Fi equipment in nursery schools. In primary schools, Wi-Fi transmitters must be disabled when not in use for teaching activities, and the school council must be informed of any planned wireless network installation.
Concerning EHS, the government is to hand a report to Parliament offering practical answers to persons suffering from electro-hypersensitivity.
According to the French telecoms federation (FFTélécoms): “By challenging the opinion of health [authorities] from around the world and stressing the potential harmfulness of radio waves, especially for “vulnerable persons”, the text could maintain unfounded concerns and develop anxiety-provoking effects among the population while discrediting the work of health agencies and scientists. […] In all, the adoption of this law, which is not based on sound science, multiplies the obstacles to the equipment of France with high-speed networks […].”
Media coverage is important and rather factual. This evening, some media are reporting the concerns of FFTélécoms. For their part, anti-EMF activists welcome the adoption of the bill.

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