More European countries assessing iPhone 12 for health risks after France ban

More European countries assessing iPhone 12 for health risks after France ban
Our smartphones emit radiofrequency (RF) energy that can be absorbed by our bodies. That doesn't mean you need to throw away your smartphone as government agencies around the world have some measures in place to ensure the RF levels don't exceed limits that can be harmful to our health. France recently halted sales of the iPhone 12 over concerns that the phone surpasses the maximum allowable limit and now Belgium, Germany, and Netherlands are wondering whether they should do the same.

Belgium is assessing the iPhone 12 for any potential health risks and is also going to review other Apple devices for dangerous emissions at a later stage. 

Germany is closely watching the matter and Dutch regulators have decided to ask Apple for an explanation. Spanish consumer association OCU has asked the government to suspend the sales of the iPhone 12 in the country. 

Different smartphones have different Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) values, which measure the rate of radiofrequency energy absorbed by the human body from a device. Now, SAR values don't pertain to RF exposure under typical usage conditions. Rather, they ensure that a smartphone doesn't exceed the highest permissible exposure levels when being used in conditions that will result in its highest possible emission. 

Add to that the fact the European Union is more cautious than the US and Asia when it comes to SAR values and it's easy to see that European countries might be panicking for no reason.

Apple has already said that it follows international radiation guidelines but since the SAR value is still above what's allowed by the EU, sales of the iPhone 12 remain halted in France. France's Digital and Telecommunications Minister Jean-Noël Barrot says that the European SAR level is "ten times lower than the level of emissions which, according to scientific studies, can have consequences for users."

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One of the reasons behind France's overly cautious attitude is perhaps the fact SAR values are usually only measured for prototypes and that too using an outdated test technology. France's national frequency agency (ANFR) gets all retail units tested in an independent German laboratory to ensure SAR values are within the permissible limits. 

Per ANFR, the iPhone 12's SAR exceeds the limit set by the EU at a distance of five millimeters. Although Apple no longer sells the iPhone 12, which came out three years ago, third-party retailers still sell it. 

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