Following a French court’s recent landmark decision to order the dismantling of a cellphone base tower on the basis of health risks to residents nearby, French telephone operators lost no time lobbying the government to reaffirm the inviolability of the right to erect cellphone towers anywhere and everywhere on French territory. The next step in this saga was a report issued by the French Academy of Medicine on March 4, declaring that there is no health risk associated with being in proximity to cellphone base towers.
According to the report, exposure to the electromagnetic fields of these basetowers is between 100 and 100,000 time less than what you would receive from being exposed through making a call on a cellphone for 30 seconds. However, on March 11, the French satirical weekly Le Canard enchaîné reported that the ruling of the Academy of Medicine was the result of pressure exerted by Bouygues Telecom on the Prime Minister François Fillon. It noted that the Academy of Medicine responded with unusual alacrity to the February 4 ruling by the Versailles appeal court, convening just one working group (instead of the habitual commission) which met only once to reach its decision.
Meanwhile, the government will hold a “Grenelle des Antennes” on March 26 attended by telephone operators, local politicians, associations and health professionals. Given that the government has come out firmly on the side of “cellphone base towers are totally safe”, one wonders what the point of this Grenelle could be?
Notice that the Academy pointed out that the intensity of electromagnetic fields coming from cellphone base towers is 100 to 100,000 time less than that of using a cellphone yourself. So why isn’t the “Grenelle” looking at cellphones?
Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) is not currently an accepted diagnosis. In Sweden it is an officially recognized functional impairment, but it is not regarded as a disease. Last month, Libération ran a story profiling a 39 year-old German who is so electro-sensitive that he cannot live anywhere but in a so-called “white zone” which is free from any wireless or cellphone fields. Matthias Moser, and along with hundreds of thousands of others who suffer from symptoms such as nausea, migraines, weakness and anxiety whenever they are in electromagnetic fields. This means, basically, that they are completely marginalized from society and have to take refuge in the few remaining “white zones” left in France.
There is currently a European pilot White Zone Health Zone eco-village project underway in the southeast of France. The plan is to build eco-villages for people suffering from EHS in a location which is 10 kilometres from a town and guaranteed totally free from High-Frequency Radiation. It will be protected by an access road with security gates and an EMF detector that forbids entry to any person or vehicle that does not meet the regulations.