US health officials are investigating reports that the iPhone 12 emits harmful levels of radiation. Sales of the phone were temporarily halted in Europe due to safety concerns raised by French regulators. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), responsible for ensuring cellphone safety, stated that they are reviewing the available information. Germany, Belgium, and Spain have also indicated that they may follow France's lead in halting sales of the iPhone 12. Apple has disputed the findings, but the controversy has reignited fears about health risks associated with cellphone usage.
It is estimated that over 81 million iPhones were sold in the United States in 2021, but it is unclear how many Americans still use the three-year-old model. Apple has announced that it will release a software update in France to address the issue, claiming that the radiation levels, although exceeding French standards, do not pose a risk to individuals.
The FDA, along with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), regulates the safety of phones. The FCC declined to comment on the matter. French regulators, specifically the Agence Nationale des Fréquences (ANFR), reported that the iPhone 12 failed routine testing and emitted radiation levels 40 percent higher than what is considered acceptable. However, many experts argue that even if the higher radiation levels are accurate, they are not sufficient to cause harm.
Concerns about the health effects of cellphone radiation have existed for years, with claims of links to brain cancer and fertility issues. However, these claims have not been conclusively proven. Some experts, such as Dr. Devra Davis and Dr. Joel Moskowitz, have called for further investigation into the safety of cellphone radiation.
French digital minister Jean-Noel Barrot has emphasized that the radiation levels of the iPhone 12 are lower than those deemed harmful by scientific studies. He stated that a software update would resolve the issue. Dr. Rodney Croft, chair of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, also stated that the phone does not pose a risk to health and safety.
Apple has two weeks to respond to the French regulators' findings and has already announced plans for a software update. The update will only affect phones in France and not in other countries. Previous research on cellphone radiation and its potential health effects has yielded mixed results, with some studies suggesting a link while others dismiss the claims. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified certain radio frequencies as "possibly carcinogenic to humans," but the likelihood of harm is thought to be low. Apple maintains that the iPhone 12 complies with global standards and that the issue is specific to French testing protocols, not a safety concern.