High radiation in iPhone 12 sees sales suspended in France

The discovery was made by French watchdog ANFR.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Representational image of cell phone radiation.jpg
Representational image of cell phone radiation.


According to an interview with the French daily Le Parisien published on Tuesday, Apple was asked to cease selling its iPhone 12 model in France due to newly-discovered elevated radiation levels.

France's junior minister for the digital economy Jean-Noel Barrot told the news outlet the nation's radiation authority ANFR informed Apple of its decision to halt sales of the iPhone 12 after conducting tests that revealed the device's Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) was marginally greater than permitted by law.

This is according to a report by Reuters.

A potential recall could be put into place

"Apple is expected to respond within two weeks", the government official said. "If they fail to do so, I am prepared to order a recall of all iPhones 12 in circulation. The rule is the same for everyone, including the digital giants."

Barrot further asserted that the radiation problems with the phone may be resolved with a software update. The phone has been in circulation since 2020.

Non-ionizing radiation, such as that produced by iPhones and other smartphones, lacks the energy needed to ionize atoms or molecules and, as a result, does not pose the same health dangers as ionizing radiation like X-rays or gamma rays. This does not mean it can't be problematic.

Regulatory bodies in several nations have defined exposure limits for RF radiation, the type of radiation present in mobile phones, in order to safeguard the public's health. These restrictions are made to guarantee that the radiation emitted by cell phones stays below safe thresholds.

By far and large, Apple iPhones are made to adhere to these legal requirements.

The rate at which RF radiation is absorbed by the human body while using a mobile phone is estimated through SAR measurements. For each of its iPhone models, Apple supplies SAR data, and these results tend to fall within most regulatory bodies' permitted ranges.

Possible health implications from prolonged use

The possible health implications of prolonged exposure to RF radiation from mobile phones have been the subject of extensive investigation. Several studies have been conducted on the matter, with some of them finding a connection between high SAR values and certain forms of cancer.

The French watchdog will now inform regulators in other EU member states of its findings, added Reuters. "In practical terms, this decision could have a snowball effect", Barrot said, according to the news outlet.

It remains unclear as of yet whether other European nations will seek out similar actions as the French government.

Dedicated iPhone users who refuse to give up their devices can take the following steps to reduce RF exposure:

  • Reduce the phone's proximity to your head by using a hands-free device, such as a Bluetooth headset or loudspeaker.
  • Calls should be brief; if texting is an option, do so.
  • Don't use your phone in places with poor signal reception because the device can boost its power output in order to try and achieve connectivity.
  • Adhere to the safety recommendations offered by manufacturers and regulatory bodies.

The news is an indication of how well-informed and organized France's digital economy sector is. The move by the government officials shows a real concern for their citizens that goes above serving the needs of multi-billion dollar industries.

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