France Bans iPhone 12 Sales Over Radiation Concerns

Apple is facing regulatory scrutiny in France after the country’s Agence Nationale des Fréquences (ANFR) ordered a halt to the sales of the iPhone 12 model, which launched in 2020.

The regulatory body cited tests that showed the phone’s Specific Absorption Rate (SAR)—a measure of the rate of radiofrequency energy absorbed by the body—exceeded European Union legal limits.

According to ANFR, accredited labs found the iPhone 12’s SAR to be 5.74 watts per kilogram, surpassing the European standard of 4.0 watts per kilogram. The decision has raised the prospect of similar bans across the European Union, with Germany’s network regulator BNetzA indicating it might launch similar proceedings.

In response to the French order, Apple issued a statement defending the iPhone 12’s compliance with global radiation standards. The tech giant stated that the model, launched in 2020, had received certification from multiple international bodies and that it had provided several lab results to ANFR to prove the phone’s compliance, reports Reuters.

Apple is contesting the French regulatory findings and has two weeks to respond, according to France’s junior minister for the digital economy, Jean-Noel Barrot. Failure to do so could result in a recall of all iPhone 12 units in circulation in France.

The regulatory action comes despite a lack of consensus on the health risks associated with mobile phone radiation. The World Health Organization has stated that no adverse health effects have been definitively linked to mobile phone use. Industry experts, including Professor Rodney Croft, chair of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), have also pointed out that regulatory SAR limits are set well below levels where any harm has been scientifically proven.

The French decision could have broader implications for Apple’s European market. Germany’s BNetzA and Spain’s OCU consumers’ group are in close contact with French authorities and may initiate similar actions. Apple’s revenues in Europe totaled about $95 billion last year, and the company is estimated to have sold over 50 million iPhones in the region. The regulatory scrutiny comes as Apple launched its latest lineup, the iPhone 15, yesterday at its Cupertino headquarters.

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