Our smartphones emit radiofrequency (RF) energy, which can be absorbed by our bodies. However, government agencies worldwide have implemented measures to ensure that the RF levels do not exceed harmful limits for our health. Recently, France suspended the sales of the iPhone 12 due to concerns that the phone surpasses the maximum allowable RF limit. Now, other European countries like Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands are considering following suit.
Belgium is conducting an assessment of the iPhone 12 to determine any potential health risks. Additionally, they plan to review other Apple devices for dangerous emissions at a later stage. Germany is closely monitoring the situation, while Dutch regulators have reached out to Apple seeking an explanation. The Spanish consumer association OCU has called for the government to suspend iPhone 12 sales in Spain.
It’s important to note that different smartphones have different Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) values, which measure the rate of RF energy absorbed by the human body. SAR values ensure that a smartphone does not exceed the highest permissible exposure levels when used under conditions that result in its highest possible emission. However, SAR values do not pertain to RF exposure under typical usage conditions.
It’s worth mentioning that the European Union tends to be more cautious than the US and Asia when it comes to SAR values. This caution may explain why European countries are approaching this issue more urgently.
Apple has stated that it adheres to international radiation guidelines. However, since the SAR value of the iPhone 12 still exceeds the EU’s limit, sales of this model remain halted in France. France’s Digital and Telecommunications Minister, Jean-Noël Barrot, emphasizes that the European SAR level is “ten times lower than the level of emissions that, according to scientific studies, can have consequences for users.”
One possible reason for France’s cautious approach could be the fact that SAR values are usually only measured for prototypes, using outdated test technology. In France, the national frequency agency (ANFR) tests all retail units at an independent German laboratory to ensure SAR values are within permissible limits.
According to ANFR, the SAR value of the iPhone 12 exceeds the EU limit at a distance of five millimeters. Although Apple no longer sells the iPhone 12, which was released three years ago, third-party retailers may still have inventory available.