HomeTechnologyApple disputes findings, says iPhone 12 meets radiation rules

Apple defended its iPhone 12 models on Wednesday after a French watchdog ordered it to halt sales, citing violations of EU radiation exposure limits.

The French move raises the possibility of more restrictions in Europe. Germany’s network regulator BNetzA said it may launch similar proceedings and is in close contact with French authorities, while Spain’s OCU consumers group has urged authorities there to stop sales of the iPhone 12.

Apple said in a statement that the iPhone 12, launched in 2020, was certified as compliant with global radiation standards by multiple international bodies, adding that it had provided multiple Apple and third-party laboratory results that proved the phone’s compliance to the French agency. did, and it was contradicting its findings.

Researchers have conducted a large number of studies over the past two decades to assess the health risks posed by mobile phones. According to the World Health Organization, no adverse health effects from mobile phone use have yet been established.

France’s Agence Nationale des Frequencies (ANFR) told Apple on Tuesday iPhone12 sales were halted in France after tests said the phone’s specific absorption rate (SAR) – a gauge of the rate of radiofrequency energy absorbed by the body from a piece of equipment – ​​was higher than legally allowed. .

The watchdog said it would send agents to Apple Stores and other distributors to verify that the model is no longer being sold and that failure to take action would result in the recall of iPhone 12 already sold to consumers.

Industry experts said there is no safety risk because regulatory limits on SAR are set well below levels where scientists have found evidence of harm.

“From a health and safety perspective, it’s not like it’s putting anyone at risk,” said Professor Rodney Croft, chair of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), which sets global guidelines on it. SAR limits.

The limits – based on the risk of burns or heatstroke from the phone’s radiation – are already set ten times below the level where scientists have found evidence of harm.

Croft said the French findings may differ from those recorded by other regulators because ANFR assesses radiation with a method that assumes direct skin contact without intermediate textile layers between the device and the user.

A French government source also said that the French test was different from the method used by Apple.

Smartphone sales have been stopped 42 times in the country so far due to radiation tests. This is the first time that Apple has been affected by such a move.

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ANFR said that accredited laboratories had found the absorption of electromagnetic energy by the body to be 5.74 watts per kilogram during testing when the iPhone 12 was being held in the hand or in a trouser pocket. The European standard is a specific absorption rate of 4.0 watts per kilogram.

ANFR said tests showed the phone complied with so-called body-SAR standards when it was in a jacket pocket or bag. It also passes French tests when held directly to the head as if making a phone call.

Jean-Noël Barrot, France’s junior minister for the digital economy, said a software update would be enough to fix the radiation-related problems.

“Apple is expected to respond within two weeks,” he told daily Le Parisien in an interview on Tuesday, adding: “If they fail to do so, I am planning to recall all iPhone 12s in circulation.” “Ready to order. The rules are the same for everyone, including the digital giants.”

ANFR will now send its findings to regulators in other EU member states. “In practical terms, this decision could have a major impact,” Barrot said.

Germany’s BNetzA network regulator said the “process in France serves a guiding role for the whole of Europe”, adding that it could initiate similar proceedings in Germany.

Germany’s radiation watchdog BFS also said the French decision could have ramifications for the whole of Europe.

Apple does not break down its sales by country or model. Its total revenue in Europe last year was nearly $95 billion, making the region its second-largest after the US. By some estimates more than 50 million iPhones were sold in Europe last year. The company launched iPhone 15 on Tuesday.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, which sets global guidelines on SAR limits, classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields generated by mobile phone use as “possibly carcinogenic” in 2011.

This designation – which also includes the sweetener aspartame, aloe vera extract and some pickled vegetables – is limited by evidence of anything potentially causing cancer, and is also intended to inspire more research.

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