France bans the sale of iPhone 12s

France’s radiation watchdog has banned sales of Apple’s iPhone 12, claiming tests showed the smartphone breached European radiation exposure limits.

The Agence Nationale des Frequences (ANFR) said the model’s specific absorption rate (SAR) was found to be higher than legally allowed.

Jean-Noel Barrot, France’s junior minister for the digital economy, told newspaper Le Parisien a software update could fix the problem.

If Apple does not resolve the issue, the ANFR said it would order a recall of the device across France.

Apple disputes the watchdog’s conclusions, saying the iPhone 12 is certified by multiple international bodies as compliant with global radiation standards.

Here’s what’s happened so far and what it means for people in Australia.

What has France’s radiation watchdog found?

The ANFR said it recently carried out random tests on 141 phones, including the iPhone 12, bought from shops.

In independent laboratory tests, two iPhone 12s did not comply with EU standards, the office of the digital minister told Reuters.

Smartphone radiation tests have so far led to 42 imposed sale stops in the country, it said.

What is SAR?

“Standard absorption rate” refers to the dose of energy the body absorbs from any source of radiation. It is expressed as watts per kilogram of body weight.

The radiation from mobile phones is a result of the way they work, by transmitting radiofrequency waves, creating electromagnetic fields.

Unlike the radiation from x-rays or gamma rays — caused by radioactive decay — radiation from phones cannot break chemical bonds or cause changes to cells in the human body, a process that can ultimately cause harm, including cancer.

How dangerous is mobile phone radiation?

The main issue caused by a phone’s “non-ionising” type of radiation is the heating up of body tissue.

Above set limits, and depending on the duration of exposure, this can lead to health effects such as burns or heat stroke, according to the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), a body that sets guidelines for the limits globally.

The ANFR said accredited labs had found a SAR of 5.74 watts per kilogram during tests of the iPhone 12 being held in the hand or kept in a trouser pocket.

The EU standard is 4 watts per kilogram.

However, this represents no risk to human health, the chair of ICNIRP, Rodney Croft, said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and other international health bodies say there is no definitive evidence that radiation from mobile phones causes other adverse health effects.

However, it has called for more research.

How worried should Australian mobile phone users be?

Not much.

The radiation from your phone is not going to harm you, Professor Ken Karipidis, assistant director of health impact assessment at the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, told ABC News.

He said all imported telecommunication devices were tested by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

The Australian SAR limit is 2 watts per kilogram, half of the EU safety standards.

But even if phones were emitting the SAR level that caused France’s ban, Professor Karipidis said there still would be little reason for concern.

“As soon as people hear ‘radiation’, they get scared straight away because they think nuclear, but radiation is not one thing,” he said.

“The type of radiation that comes out of mobile phones are radio waves. Anything that’s wireless communication – phones, wi-fi, televisions, radio — produce these waves.”

Professor Karipidis says that at very, very high levels, radio waves can produce a heating effect, like a microwave making your food hot.

“The radio waves you get from telecommunication devices are nowhere near that level,” Professor Karipidis said.

“You need more than 20 [watts per kilogram] for excessive heating to occur. We set the limit at a very conservative level for safety factors.”

“That’s not to say that the phone [in France] should be sold. Regulations have to be followed. But when using that phone, nothing will happen.”

Professor Karipidis also reiterated that there is no conclusive evidence that mobile phone radiation causes brain tumours or cancer.

How has Apple responded?

Why Apple’s iPhone 15 uses a USB-C charging cable rather than a Lightning cable

One of the biggest changes to Apple’s new iPhone is its charging port. Here is why it has moved from a Lightning cable to USB-C.

A USB-C cable in front of an Apple logo.

Read more

The ANFR has said a software update should be sufficient to fix the issue.

In simple terms, this is because the software — the apps, program and other operating information running on a device — affects how the hardware (the device) works.

So a software update should, the ANFR says, be enough to reduce iPhone 12 users’ SAR exposure.

However, Apple has rejected the agency’s findings. The company said it had provided the ANFR with multiple Apple and independent third-party lab results proving its compliance with all applicable SAR regulations and standards in the world.

Apple said it would contest the results of the ANFR’s review and would continue to engage with the agency to show it is compliant.

Are there more bans to come?

The ANFR intends to pass on its findings to regulators in other EU member states.

While it remains unclear if other authorities are investigating, Germany’s Federal Office for Radiation Protection said on Wednesday: “The question of the need for change is currently the subject of discussions.”


  • All
  • Australia News
  • Business News
  • Entertainment News
  • International News
  • Sports News
  • Sri Lanka News
    •   Back
    • India News
Load More

End of Content.

latest NEWS

  • All
  • Australia News
  • Business News
  • Entertainment News
  • International News
  • Sports News
  • Sri Lanka News
    •   Back
    • India News