The iPhone 12 is temporarily withdrawn from sale in Europe because it emits too many waves, potentially dangerous to health. But how harmful are these waves? How to mitigate their impact? All the answers.
Hard blow for Apple last Tuesday: its iPhone 12 was banned for sale in Europe due to too strong wave emissions according to the National Frequency Agency (ANFR). These could pose a health risk.
What’s wrong with the waves from our phones?
For the ANFR, the iPhone 12, the first to benefit from 5G technology, would exceed the limit of specific absorption rate (DAS), that is to say the energy transported by electromagnetic waves and absorbed by the human body. When measured, the SAR of the iPhone 12 was 5.74 W/kg, while the regulatory limit value is set at 4 W/kg. That is to say an excess of 1.74 W/kg.
A precautionary principle applies here: on the one hand, the World Health Organization claims that it is not possible to determine with certainty the harmful effect of mobile phones on health; on the other, the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES) noted in 2022 that “certain publications nevertheless suggest a possible increase in the risk of brain tumors, in the long term, for intensive users of mobile phones.”
Apple for its part has 15 days to bring its devices up to expected standards via an update of its software in particular.
10 tips for limiting exposure to electromagnetic waves
We are every day and constantly in contact with these waves emitted and received by our phones. Faced with the lack of perspective on possible long-term effects, it is better to adopt simple actions to reduce exposure to radio frequencies.
- Choose a phone with the lowest Specific Absorption Rate (SAR). The maximum SAR values can be found in places of sale and user manuals for mobile phones;
- Use a hands-free kit or loudspeaker mode when communicating. A few centimeters of distance thanks to a hands-free kit or the loudspeaker option can reduce exposure to radio frequencies. Wired headset or Bluetooth thus divide the exposure of the head by a factor of 10 to 500 depending on the model used. Mobile phone sellers are also required to provide a hands-free kit suitable for under 14s;
- Favor text messages. By using text messages (instant messages, SMS, emails, etc.) to communicate, you reduce the emission of waves from your phone, which connects to the nearest relay antenna only long enough to send the message ;
- Favor areas where reception is good. When reception is good, the telephone reduces its transmission power to the minimum necessary to ensure a good connection. Therefore avoid telephone conversations when the number of bars is low;
- Avoid holding your phone to your ear while traveling. When you travel in transport, your mobile phone successively enters into contact with different relay antennas and can raise its power to the maximum level to search for them;
- Avoid conversations that are too long. Prolonged communication increases the duration of your exposure to radio frequencies.
- Avoid keeping your phone in your pockets When you are not using it, avoid keeping your smartphone with you. It is in fact not recommended to put it in your pocket, as the waves could then come into contact with other sensitive parts of the body. Better to place it nearby, on a table if you want to keep it within reach.
- Use airplane mode. The simplest way to avoid being exposed to electromagnetic waves is to put your smartphone in airplane mode. This deactivates all wireless transmissions, which means that the phone no longer emits any waves. Do not hesitate to do this systematically at night and whenever you no longer wish to be disturbed.
- Do not use your phone when the signal is weak. You should know that the weaker the signal, the more difficulty you have in receiving the network and the more waves your phone will emit. Therefore, it is advisable not to use your smartphone in areas where reception is difficult and to wait until you are in a better served location to make calls.
- Be wary of quick fixes. In all cases, avoid anti-radiation patches and covers, for which advertisements proliferate on social networks. The demonstration of their effectiveness has never been proven. Paradoxically, certain processes can even force the smartphone to emit more waves. And don’t worry, the emission levels of smartphones are anyway far below the safety limits established by international organizations.