Belgium has joined the list of countries reviewing potential health risks associated with iPhone 12 radio power levels, following concerns expressed by French regulators.
On Tuesday, France banned the sale of iPhone 12 due to exceeding legal radio frequency exposure limits. Regulators are now poised to order a total recall of all iPhone 12 models in circulation should Apple not respond.
The move has prompted Belgium to review the iPhone 12 over health and safety concerns.
"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.
Other countries, like Italy and Germany, have said they would monitor the situation as it progresses but have not pledged to take any action.
It is important to understand that radio frequency (RF) radiation differs from ionizing radiation produced by radioactive isotopes or the sun. The way in which they cause harm is also different. Ionizing radiation damages molecular bonds inside cells leading to damage, while high levels of RF radiation can heat tissue and potentially cause tissue damage.
Radiation exposure is measured differently by different countries, using units such as gray, sieverts, or rem per hour. However, the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) is a more universal measure.
SAR refers to the rate at which the body absorbs RF energy, which generates heat but doesn't necessarily indicate the extent of damage caused. It's not clear at what levels RF exposure can cause damage, and there is no scientific evidence that 10x levels of RF that a cellphone can generate — even 10x France's results for the iPhone 12 — causes any adverse health effects
Apple has denied allegations from the French ministry that the iPhone 12 exceeds legal limits for RF exposure. The company intends to challenge the sales ban and is also disputing the results of the AFNR testing.
Apple will maintain communication with the agency and work towards a resolution to ensure the model is not recalled in total.