The Agence Nationale des Fréquences (ANFR), France’s radiation watchdog ordered Apple to cease the sale of its iPhone 12 on Tuesday (12 Sept) for allegedly breaching European exposure limits, the agency said in a statement.

Apple refuted the ban, saying its newest model was certified by several international bodies prior to its release.

The ANFR claims the iPhone 12’s Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) exceded legal limits. SAR refers is a measure of the rate of radiofrequency energy absorption by the body.

The European Union set safety limits for SAR values based on the increased exposure risk of some forms of cancer.

The agency warned a failure to comply with European exposure regulations would result in recalling already sold iPhone 12s.

The accredited labs commissioned by ANFR found absorption of electromagnetic energy by the body at 5.74 watts per kilogram in tests simulations. The European standard is a SAR of 4.0 watts per kilogram.

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France’s junior minister for the digital economy, Jean-Noel Barrot tweeted the level found by ANFR’s testing was over ten times the level at which radiation can pose a health risk.

The French watchdog will pass on its concerns to regulators in other member states. In an interview with Le Parisien, Barrot warned of the potential ‘snowball effect’.

Apple unveiled the iPhone 15 today (13th Sept) which includes a USB C charging cable. Many were surprised to see the phone fitted with machine learning capabilities, as Apple has continually refused to address the issue of artificial intelligence (AI).

Apple confirmed its newest iPhone will not have a lightning charging port, after the EU mandated the change.

The EU ordered Apple to abandon its characteristic charging ports to save consumers money, and help reduce e-waste by encouraging re-use of chargers.