French regulators ordered Apple to stop selling the iPhone 12, saying it emits electromagnetic radiation levels that are above European Union standards for exposure.
Açcording to Business Insider, the company disputed the findings and said the device complies with regulations.
The French government agency that manages wireless communications frequencies issued the order after the iPhone 12 recently failed one of two types of tests for electromagnetic waves capable of being absorbed by the body.
It’s unclear why the phone, which was released in late 2020, didn’t pass the agency’s latest round of tests and why it was only that particular model.
France’s digital minister said the iPhone 12’s radiation levels are still much lower than levels that scientific studies consider could harm users, and the agency itself acknowledges that its tests don’t reflect typical phone use.
The National Frequency Agency on Tuesday called on Apple to “implement all available means to rapidly fix this malfunction” for phones already in use and said it would monitor device updates. If they don’t work, “Apple will have to recall” phones that have already been sold, it said.
The agency recently tested 141 cellphones and found that when the iPhone 12 is held in a hand or carried in a pocket, its level of electromagnetic energy absorption is 5.74 watts per kilogram, higher than the EU standard of 4 watts per kilogram.
The phone passed a separate test of radiation levels for devices kept in a jacket or in a bag, the agency said.
Radiation limits are set “well below the level at which harm will occur,” and therefore a small increase above the threshold “is unlikely to be of any health consequence,” said Malcolm Sperrin, director of medical physics at the U.K.’s Royal Berkshire hospital group.
Users of the iPhone 12 should be able to download an update that prevents radiation exposure from surpassing the limit, Sperrin said.
It’s not clear why this particular model appears to throw off higher radiation but it “may be associated with the initial stage of connection when the phone is ‘looking’ for a transmit/receive signal,” he said.
Apple said the iPhone 12 has been certified by multiple international bodies and complies with all applicable regulations and standards for radiation around the world.
The U.S. tech company said it has provided the French agency with multiple lab results carried out both by the company and third-party labs proving the phone’s compliance.