- Belgian regulatory body will evaluate iPhone 12 after French ban
- Apple says the iPhone 12 is compliant with global radiation rules
- The German regulator says France can be a guide for Europe
- Italy says monitoring the situation, no action at the moment
PARIS, Sept 14 (Reuters) – Belgium said on Thursday it would review potential health risks associated with Apple Inc’s iPhone 12, raising the possibility that more European countries will ban the model after France ordered a halt to sales over violations of radiation exposure limits.
Apple disputes the French findings, saying the iPhone 12 — now a relatively old model launched in 2020 — has been certified by several international bodies as compliant with radiation standards.
Researchers have conducted a large number of studies over the past two decades to evaluate the health risks of cell phones. According to the World Health Organization, no harmful health effects resulting from its use have been proven.
But Paris’ move to halt iPhone 12 sales until Apple fixes radiation issues discovered in two tests has raised the possibility of further bans in Europe – although other countries, such as Italy, have said they will not take any steps for now.
“It is my duty to ensure the safety of all citizens,” Mathieu Michel, Belgian Minister of State for Digital Transformation, said in an emailed statement to Reuters.
“I quickly contacted the regulatory body IBPT-BIPT to request an analysis on the potential danger of the product,” Michel said, adding that he also asked the regulatory body to review all Apple smartphones, as well as devices manufactured by Apple. Other producers, at a later stage.
The German network regulator BNetzA reiterated that the work in France can serve as a guide for Europe as a whole and that it will study this issue for the German market if the process in France progresses sufficiently.
The Dutch digital watchdog also said it was looking into the matter and would ask the US company for an explanation, while stressing that there was no “significant safety risk.”
Meanwhile, the Italian Ministry of Industry said it is monitoring the situation but has not taken any action at the moment.
Britain, where the iPhone 12 met radiation safety standards upon release, has not announced any plans in the wake of France’s decision.
In Spain, consumer associations OCU urged the authorities to follow the French step and stop sales of the iPhone 12.
Industry experts said there were no safety risks, as regulatory limits, based on the risk of burns or heatstroke from phone radiation, were set well below levels at which scientists found evidence of harm.
Apple does not break down its sales by country or model.
The company launched the iPhone 15 on Tuesday, and the three-year-old iPhone 12 is not available for purchase from Apple online in France and other European countries. However, it can be purchased from third parties, including Amazon France.
“Limiting iPhone 12 sales, in and of itself, should not have a significant impact on the iPhone. We would be more concerned if newer models were included,” said Tom Forte, an analyst at DA Davidson, while noting that Apple could face problems. Bigger elsewhere, such as potential restrictions on the use of iPhones in China and new data regulations in Europe.
Apple’s total revenues amounted to about $95 billion in Europe last year, making the region the second largest after the Americas. Some estimates suggest it sold more than 50 million iPhones last year in Europe.
(Additional reporting by Reham Al-Kousa and Hakan Arsene in Berlin, Giuseppe Fonte in Rome and Silvia Aloisi in Milan – Prepared by Muhammad for the Arabic Bulletin) Writing by Tassilo Hamel and Ingrid Melander. Edited by Mark Potter
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