France Bans Sales of Apple’s iPhone 12 Over Radiation Concerns, Belgium to Review

In a recent development, France’s radiation watchdog, the Agence Nationale des Frequences (ANFR), has imposed a ban on the sales of Apple’s iPhone 12 within the country. The decision follows tests conducted by the ANFR, which revealed that the iPhone 12 exceeded European radiation exposure limits.
Apple iphone 12 5G smartphone in SingaporeMeanwhile, Belgium said it would review the potential health risks linked to Apple’s iPhone 12, Reuters news report said.

The specific issue cited by the ANFR was the smartphone’s Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), which measures the rate at which the body absorbs radiofrequency energy from the device. The SAR of the iPhone 12 was found to be higher than what is legally allowed under European regulations.

France’s junior minister for the digital economy, Jean-Noel Barrot, suggested that a software update could potentially resolve the problem. However, if Apple fails to address the issue promptly, the ANFR has indicated that it may order a recall of the iPhone 12 devices currently in circulation throughout France.

Apple’s Response and Dispute

Apple has disputed the ANFR’s findings, asserting that the iPhone 12 has received certification from multiple international bodies, affirming its compliance with global radiation standards. This disagreement sets the stage for a potential standoff between the tech giant and French regulators.

Understanding Specific Absorption Rate (SAR)

Specific Absorption Rate, or SAR, refers to the amount of energy that the human body absorbs from any source of radiation. It is typically expressed in watts per kilogram of body weight. While mobile phones emit radiation in the form of radiofrequency waves, it’s important to note that this type of radiation is non-ionizing, meaning it doesn’t have the energy to break chemical bonds or cause cellular changes that can lead to conditions like cancer.

The primary concern associated with non-ionizing radiation from mobile phones is the heating of body tissue, which, when above certain limits and with prolonged exposure, can result in health effects such as burns or heat stroke. However, experts from the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) emphasize that the SAR levels found in the iPhone 12 pose no risk to human health.

Ongoing Research and Health Implications

International health organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), have not found definitive evidence linking mobile phone radiation to adverse health effects, although they have called for further research.

In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified mobile phone radiation as “possibly carcinogenic” (class 2B), indicating a potential link to cancer. However, this classification was based on limited evidence and could not establish a definitive connection.

ANFR’s Suggested Solution

The ANFR has proposed that a software update could rectify the SAR issue associated with the iPhone 12. This approach is based on the idea that software modifications can influence how hardware functions, ultimately reducing users’ exposure to radiation.

Apple, on the other hand, has rejected the ANFR’s findings and insists that it has provided ample evidence of compliance with SAR regulations through lab results from both Apple and independent third-party sources.

Potential Impact Beyond France

The ANFR’s decision to ban the iPhone 12 for failing to meet European Union standards raises questions about the potential for similar bans in other countries within the EU. The ANFR intends to share its findings with regulators in other EU member states. While it remains uncertain whether other authorities will launch investigations or impose similar bans, Germany’s Federal Office for Radiation Protection has indicated that discussions on the matter are ongoing.

As this situation unfolds, both Apple and regulatory agencies will continue to grapple with the complex issue of mobile phone radiation and its potential impact on public health.