France orders Apple iPhone 12 sales to be halted over radiation fears

French regulators on Tuesday ordered Apple to immediately halt sales of the iPhone 12 for emitting too much electromagnetic radiation and to recall existing handsets.

France orders Apple iPhone 12 sales to be halted over radiation fears
France orders Apple iPhone 12 sales halted over radiation fears (Photo by Pedro PARDO / AFP)

The French agency that regulates radio frequencies, the ANFR, said testing found that the model emits more electromagnetic waves susceptible to be absorbed by the body than permitted. 

The ANFR said it “ordered Apple to remove the iPhone 12 from the French market from September 12 due to the model exceeding the limit” for electromagnetic absorption by the body.

It said accredited labs had found absorption of electromagnetic energy by the body at 5.74 watts per kilogram during tests simulating when the phone was being held in the hand or kept in a pocket.

The European standard is a specific absorption rate of 4.0 watts per kilogram in such tests.

“Concerning phones already sold, Apple must in the briefest of delays take corrective measures to bring the affected phones into compliance,” said the ANFR in a statement on its website.

“Otherwise, Apple will have to recall them.”

ANFR noted that tests that measure the electromagnetic radiation absorbed at a distance of five centimetres was in compliance with the limit of 2.0 watts per kilogram.

ANFR said its agents would verify beginning Wednesday that that iPhone 12 models were no longer being offered for sale in France.

When contacted by AFP Apple did not have an immediate comment.

Regulators in a number of countries have limits on the amount of electromagnetic radiation mobile phones may emit to prevent adverse health effects.

The World Health Organization states on its website that following a large number of studies that “no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use”.

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How to get a Covid vaccine in France this October

France launched a new Covid vaccination campaign on Monday. Everyone is eligible for a booster dose, although it is specifically recommended for high-risk groups. Here's how to get your shot.

How to get a Covid vaccine in France this October

Rising case numbers and the emergence of new variants pushed French health authorities to bring forward the new Covid vaccination campaign to October 2nd – it was initially scheduled to start on October 17th. 

While anyone can receive the vaccine, the Health Ministry is specifically recommending that the following groups to do so:

  • People over the age of 65;
  • People with co-morbidities;
  • Pregnant women;
  • Immunosuppressed people;
  • Care home residents or confined to a medical unit for long-term treatment;
  • Anyone who comes into regular contact with immunosuppressed people or people who a vulnerable to respiratory infections. 

French health authorities have indicated that they will prioritise the use of vaccines specifically adapted to the XBB.1.5 Omicron sub-variant, which currently the main strain of the virus circulating in France. The main vaccine suited to tackling this sub-variant is the RNA Messenger vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, which also remains effective against other variants.

It is also possible to use Sanofi an Novavax vaccines, but Novavax will not have a vaccine adapted to the XBB.1.5 sub-variant until November.  

France is also launching a nationwide flu vaccination campaign later this month. You can read more about the necessary steps to get one here

How to get a Covid booster dose

Your GP (médecin traitant) should be able to give you a Covid booster on appointment. Pharmacy staff, nurses, dentists and midwives are also able to administer booster doses. If you want to receive a vaccine at the pharmacy, you should be able to set an appointment in the pharmacy itself or over the phone. 

The simplest way to book yourself for a booster dose (dose de rappel) is through the Doctolib website.  

READ MORE France’s autumn 2023 Covid vaccine booster campaign ‘will be open to all’

If you live in a care home or a special unit for people requiring long-term treatment, vaccination is organised on-site. 

The vaccination itself is free for anyone residing in France, even if you don’t yet have a carte vitale. If you do have a carte vitale however, you should bring it to your appointment.

When to receive a booster

The nationwide vaccination campaign began on October 2nd.

But you cannot get a booster if it has been less than 6 months since your last Covid infection (based on the date you tested positive) or your last vaccine shot. 

It is possible to receive a Covid vaccination and flu vaccination at the same time. If you wish to do so, you will need to wait until the flu vaccination campaign begins on October 17th. 

What about children? 

Children over the age of 5 are no longer recommended to have more than one vaccination against Covid-19. However, if your child has a comorbidity, such as asthma, you should consult with a medical professional to decide whether it could be worth getting a booster. 

For children under the age of five who have already had one vaccine dose or who have already been infected, it is still worth getting one more vaccine, according to French Health Authorities. For children under the age of five who have never received Covid vaccines or been infected, it is recommended that they get a total of three shots, with a 21-day gap between the first two, and an 8-week gap between the second and third. 

If you are in any doubt, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.