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A recent report from Wired intensified the discussions around a highly debated topic on phone radiation emissions. As we previously reported in our blog post “Developing Story: France Bans Sale of Apple iPhone 12“, France’s National Frequency Agency (ANFR) found that the Apple iPhone 12 exceeded radiation emission limits during Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) testing.
But interestingly, the iPhone 12 isn’t the lone wolf that failed ANFR’s testing. Xiaomi Poco X3, Motorola Edge, Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus, and Galaxy Z Flip 5G have also fallen short of France’s radiation standards.
French Regulatory Authority on Apple’s iPhone 12
Tested at a 0-mm distance, simulating a scenario where the phone is held directly against the body, the iPhone 12 registered radiation levels of 5.74W/kg—almost 43 percent over the allowable 4W/kg. However, the iPhone 12 passed the 5-mm “trunk” test, which represents a phone nestled in a jacket pocket.
The question arises as to whether this simply calls into question the iPhone 12’s safety or questions the global standards for phone radiation altogether. Needless to say, this incident has raised many eyebrows.
Radiation and Mobile Phones
Mobile phones give off a form of non-ionizing radiation on radio frequency (RF). As we have seen in a string of precedent examples, RF can be a potential issue when individuals are exposed to unusually high amounts of it. An important detail here is that under normal conditions, RF radiation is relatively low and not a cause for concern.
But the 0-mm test by ANFR, simulating direct body exposure, puts the figures in context. The Apple iPhone 12 registered the highest RF radiation among all phones, where the Telecommunications Certifications Body (TCB) and regulatory standard call for a maximum exposure level of 4W/kg.
Not Just the iPhone 12
It would be a mistake to pin this issue solely on the iPhone 12. The ANFR’s database reveals that approximately 50 mobile phones have failed their radiation tests to date.
Some of the noteworthy mentions include the Motorola Edge, which failed the 5-mm test, and the Xiaomi Poco X3, which failed both 0-mm and 5-mm tests. Samsung had two casualties, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus and the Galaxy Z Flip 5G.
While this is unsettling, it is important to note that these companies have agreed to make essential software updates to rectify the situation, as acknowledged by ANFR.
A Matter Of Regulatory Standards
The divergence in test results boils down to the varying regulatory standards across different geographical boundaries. While the U.S., Canada, and South Korea have stricter conditions, France imposes the most demanding of tests – the notorious 0-mm test!
However, it’s noteworthy that RF radiation levels can be managed by software updates and all the manufacturers, including Apple, plan to issue relevant updates for the French market.
Through this lens, it’s not just about safety risks per se but about global standards for phone radiation safety. Plus, since SAR may not even encompass all of the impacts EMF can have, understanding and keeping track of the technical landscape of radiation emissions should be our focus, as the explosive growth in wireless tech shows no signs of slowing down.
Stay tuned for more updates in this space, and make sure to revisit our previous blog post “Developing Story: France Bans Sale of Apple iPhone 12” for more context. As always, we aim to keep you informed about any news that can impact your health and well-being.