iPhone 12 Sales banned in France over radiation concerns —Here’s what to know

World News

French regulators are requesting Apple remove the iPhone 12 from the country’s market and bring already-sold versions of the phone up to standard after finding the specific absorption rate (SAR) of electromagnetic waves in the phone exceeds their limitations.
Apple Releases iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro In Australia

The iPhone 12, which was released in 2020, may be recalled in France in 2023 due to radio frequency levels above regulators’ requirements. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

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Key Takeaways
  • SAR measures the body’s exposure to radio frequency energy from any given source—including a cell phone, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
  • French regulators have a 4 watts per kilogram limit for the SAR of phones that users will either hold in their hands or put in their pockets, but the iPhone 12 had 5.74 watts per kilogram of SAR, according to the National Frequency Agency of France (ANFR), who is tasked with monitoring public exposure to electromagnetic waves.
  • In a release, Apple said its iPhone 12 models A2341 for the United States, A2406 for Canada and Japan and its A2408 for China’s mainland, Hong Kong and Macao were tested and met applicable limits, but there is no mention of the iPhone 12 model A2407, which would be available in other countries and regions, such as Europe.
  • Reuters reported that Apple said its iPhone 12 is up to global radiation standards; Forbes reached out to Apple for comment.
  • This news came the same day the iPhone 15 was revealed on Tuesday.
Key Background

The World Health Organization affirms that research shows there are no health concerns related to low levels of electromagnetic waves—like non-ionizing electromagnetic waves found in cell phones—though further research needs to be done, they said. A study from the European Union concluded extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields can be cancerous after it revealed children exposed to strong electromagnetic fields through power lines more likely developed leukemia than those who did not.

Although mobile phones do emit extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields, another study from the EU found that mobile phone use did not increase one’s risk of cancer. In the U.S., the FCC requires phone manufacturing companies to test radio-frequency exposure by placing the phone—while it’s operating at its highest level of power—in various positions on a dummy’s head and body. All-in-all, though, cell phones rarely operate at their maximum power.


The National Cancer Institute says people who worked electrical jobs, such as power station operators and phone line workers, in the 1980s and 1990s reported higher-than-expected rates of cancers, but recent studies have not shown increasing risk of cancer in people with electrical jobs. Forbes reached out to the ANFR for comment.

This article was originally published on forbes.com.