iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini

iPhone 12 sales halted in France over radiation fears

Image credit: Apple

French regulators have ordered Apple to halt the sale of the iPhone 12 after concern that it emits too much electromagnetic radiation.

France’s wireless communications watchdog, the Agence Nationale des Fréquences (ANFR), has temporarily blocked sales and could order a recall if radiation concerns are not addressed. 

The regulator took the decision after carrying out tests that showed the iPhone 12’s specific absorption rate for radio frequency exposure was 5.74W/kg. This is slightly higher than the limits imposed by European legislation: 4W/kg for a device held in a hand or pocket and 2W/kg for a device held in a jacket or bag.

As a result, the ANFR said that Apple “must immediately take all measures to prevent the affected phones present in the supply chain from being made available on the market”. 

“For phones already sold, Apple must take corrective action as soon as possible to bring the affected phones into compliance,” it added. “Otherwise, it will be up to Apple to recall them.”

The solution to the problem might lie in a software update, Jean-Noel Barrot, France’s junior minister for the digital economy, told newspaper Le Parisien in an interview published on Tuesday.

“Apple is expected to respond within two weeks,” he added. “If they fail to do so, I am prepared to order a recall of all iPhone 12s in circulation. The rule is the same for everyone, including the digital giants.”

Apple has told E&T the iPhone 12 model follows all applicable radiation standards and are certified as safe by multiple international bodies. The company added it has provided the French authorities with third-party lab results that mark the device as safe and compliant. 

The iPhone 12 was first launched in 2020. That same year, France widened its regulations requiring retailers to display the radiation value of products on packaging beyond smartphones, including tablets and other electronic devices.

In the past, there have been concerns regarding the radiation emitted by mobile phones. However, the World Health Organization’s website states that, following a large number of studies, “no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use”.

In response to the news, Germany’s network regulator BNetzA told Reuters it is in close contact with French authorities and might launch an investigation of its own.

The news has broken on the same day that Apple unveiled its new iPhone 15 model, which features a USB-C charging point to comply with European regulation.

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