A French government agency has requested Apple to reevaluate the radiation emissions of its iPhone 12 model, citing levels of electromagnetic radiation that exceed acceptable limits.
The National Frequency Agency, known by its French acronym ANFR, responsible for monitoring radio-electric frequencies and public exposure to electromagnetic radiation, released a statement on Tuesday, urging Apple to address the issue promptly for phones currently in use.
The agency will oversee corrective updates for the iPhone 12, and if these updates do not rectify the problem, the French regulator has stated that Apple may need to recall phones already sold. Apple, however, disputes these findings and maintains that the device complies with all relevant radiation regulations.
ANFR recently conducted tests on 141 cellphones, including the iPhone 12, to measure electromagnetic radiation absorption within the human body. The tests found that when the phone was held or carried in a pocket, it exceeded the European Union standard of 4 watts per kilogram, measuring at 5.74 watts per kilogram.
However, the iPhone 12 met the threshold when radiation levels were assessed for a phone placed in a jacket or bag. Apple asserted that its product, released in late 2020, has received certification from multiple international bodies and adheres to global radiation regulations and standards.
Jean-Noël Barrot, France’s minister in charge of digital issues, commented on the situation, stating that the National Frequency Agency monitors phones, which, due to software updates, may emit varying levels of electromagnetic waves. He acknowledged that iPhone 12 radiation levels were slightly higher than standards but emphasized their significant distance from levels that scientific studies suggest may have consequences for users.
Cellphones were categorized as “possible” carcinogens by the World Health Organization’s cancer research arm, placing them in a category alongside items like coffee, diesel fumes, and the pesticide DDT. However, it’s important to note that the radiation produced by cellphones differs from more potent types of radiation, such as X-rays or ultraviolet light, and does not directly damage DNA.
In 2018, two US government studies found a weak link between cellphone radiation and certain heart tumors in mice and rats. Nevertheless, federal regulators and scientists concluded that cellphone use was still safe for humans, as the findings did not accurately reflect real-world cellphone usage.
The most extensive studies on potential cellphone dangers, conducted in 13 countries in 2010, found little to no risk of brain tumors associated with cellphone use. Mobile phone usage habits have changed considerably since the inception of these studies, making it uncertain whether their results would remain applicable today.
Because many tumors take years to develop, experts maintain that it is challenging to definitively establish the long-term health risks associated with cellphone radiation. To minimize exposure, experts suggest using earphones or opting for texting when concerned about radiation exposure from cellphones.