Radiation risks: Apple’s iPhone 12 faces Belgium ban after France sales’ halt

A woman uses iPhone 12 during an Apple promotional event. —AFP/File
A woman uses iPhone 12 during an Apple promotional event. —AFP/File

Belgium Thursday announced to review of the potential health concerns associated with Apple’s iPhone 12 — a move that follows in the footsteps of other European countries, with France having previously ordered a suspension of the smartphone’s sales due to reported violations of radiation exposure limits.

Apple on Wednesday said the iPhone 12, launched in 2020, was certified by multiple international bodies as compliant with radiation standards and that it was contesting France’s findings.

But Paris’ move to halt iPhone 12 sales until Apple fixes the radiation issues detected in two tests raised the prospect of further bans in Europe.

Researchers have conducted a vast number of studies over the last two decades to assess health risks resulting from mobile phones. According to the World Health Organisation, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use.

“It is my duty to make sure all citizens … are safe”, Mathieu Michel, Belgium’s state secretary for digitalisation, said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

“I have rapidly reached out to the IBPT-BIPT (regulator) to ask for an analysis about the potential danger of the product”, Michel said, adding he had also asked the regulator to review all Apple smartphones, as well as devices made by other producers, at a later stage.

Germany’s network regulator BNetzA reiterated that the work in France could act as a guide for Europe as a whole and that it would examine the issue for the German market if the process in France had progressed sufficiently.

The Dutch digital watchdog also said it was looking into the matter and would ask the U.S. firm for an explanation while stressing there was “no acute safety risk”.

The Italian industry ministry said it was monitoring the situation but not taking any action for now.

Apple doesn’t break out its sales by country or model. Its revenues totalled about $95 billion in Europe last year, making the region its second biggest behind the Americas. Some estimates say it sold over 50 million iPhones last year in Europe. The company launched the iPhone 15 on Tuesday.

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