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France has asked Apple to stop selling the iPhone 12, claiming that the device emits levels of electromagnetic radiation higher than EU exposure standards. French radiation monitoring authority National Agency for Frequencies (ANFR)On Tuesday, the model’s specific absorption rate (SAR) — a measure of the rate of radiofrequency energy absorbed by the body from the device — was higher than legally allowed.

ANFR tested 141 mobile phones and found that when the iPhone 12 is held in the hand or in the pocket, the electromagnetic energy absorption level is 5.74 watts per kilogram, which is higher than the EU standard of 4 watts per kilogram. However, the agency said that a software update would be enough to fix the problem, as apps, programs and other operating information running on the device affects how the device works.

Jean-Noel Barrot, the French minister responsible for digital issues, said that while the iPhone 12’s radiation is higher than European Union standards, it is still far below levels that scientific studies consider dangerous.

What is SAR?

SAR or Standard Absorption Rate is the dose of energy absorbed by the body from any source of radiation. The radiation from the devices is expressed in watts per kilogram of body weight, and is a result of how they work by transmitting radio frequency waves, creating electromagnetic fields.

Risks

Unlike radiation from X-rays or gamma rays – caused by radioactive decay – phones are unable to break chemical bonds or cause changes in cells in the human body – a process that can eventually cause damage such as cancer.

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The non-ionizing type of radiation emitted by phones heats body tissue, to which exposure longer than a set limit can cause serious health effects including burns or heatstroke, according to the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). It is the body that sets border guidelines worldwide.

Apple replied

Apple rejected ANFR’s claims Reports that the iPhone 12 has been certified by several international bodies as compatible with global radiation standards. The tech giant said it will contest ANFR’s claims and will continue to engage with the agency to demonstrate its compliance.

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