The Dutch digital watchdog is looking into a French report saying Apple’s iPhone 12 model breaches European Union radiation exposure limits and will ask the US company for an explanation, according to an official quoted by the daily Algemeen Dagblad.

France’s Agence Nationale des Fréquences (ANFR) told Apple on Tuesday to halt iPhone12 sales in France after tests that it said showed the phone’s Specific Absorption Rate (SAR)- a gauge of the rate of radiofrequency energy absorbed by the body from a piece of equipment – was higher than legally allowed.

“A norm has been exceeded. Fortunately, there is no acute safety risk but we will very shortly have a talk with producer,” Angeline van Dijk, an inspector with the Nederlandse Rijksinspectie Digitale Infrastructuur (RDI), told the Dutch newspaper.

“The Netherlands attaches as much importance as France to safe use of mobile phones. Mobile phones must comply with Europeans norms.”

Germany’s network regulator BNetzA said it might launch similar proceedings and was in close contact with French authorities, while Spain’s OCU consumers’ group urged authorities there to halt the sales of the iPhone 12.

Apple said in a statement the iPhone 12, launched in 2020, was certified by multiple international bodies as compliant with global radiation standards, that it had provided several Apple and third-party lab results proving the phone’s compliance with the French agency, and that it was contesting its findings.

The ANFR said it would send agents to Apple stores and other distributors to check the model was no longer being sold.

It said it expected Apple “to deploy all available means to put an end to the non-compliance,” and a failure to act would result in the recall of iPhone 12s already sold to consumers.

The AFNR said accredited labs had found absorption of electromagnetic energy by the body at 5.74 watts per kilogram during tests simulating when the phone was being held in the hand or kept in a trouser pocket. The European standard is a specific absorption rate of 4.0 watts per kilogram.

ANFR added the tests showed the phone complied with so-called body-SAR standards when it was in a jacket pocket or bag. 

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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