Earlier this year, a study from the Heart Rhythm Journal indicated that the iPhone 12’s MagSafe technology could deactivate pacemakers in certain situations. Apple addressed these concerns in a support document, and now, the US Food and Drug Administration has issued its own update on the matter.
In a press announcement this week, the FDA wrote that it has conducted its own testing to confirm the findings of earlier studies on MagSafe’s impact on implanted medical devices. The administration says that the “risk to patients is low” and that it is “not aware of any adverse events associated with this issue at this time.
With that being said, the FDA does note that there are several precautions people can take:
- Keeping consumer electronics, such as certain cell phones and smart watches, six inches away from implanted medical devices.
- Refraining from carrying consumer electronics in a pocket over the medical device.
- Talking to your health care provider if you have questions regarding magnets in consumer electronics and implanted medical devices.
Going forward, the FDA warns that patients should be aware that the “number of consumer electronics is expected to increase over time.” People with implanted medical devices should always consult with their health care providers to “understand this potential risk and the proper techniques for safe use.”
Jeff Shuren, M.D., J.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said:
As a result of these actions, today we’re taking steps to provide information for patients and health care providers to ensure they are aware of potential risks and can take simple proactive and preventative measures. We believe the risk to patients is low and the agency is not aware of any adverse events associated with this issue at this time. However, the number of consumer electronics with strong magnets is expected to increase over time. Therefore, we recommend people with implanted medical devices talk with their health care provider to ensure they understand this potential risk and the proper techniques for safe use.
In its support document earlier this year, Apple explained that magnets in the iPhone 12 and MagSafe accessories “might interfere with medical devices,” but that the iPhone 12 devices do not “pose a greater risk of magnetic interference to medical devices than prior iPhone models.
You can read the full report from the FDA right here.
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