Apple has banned the use of chemicals benzene and n–hexane from its Asian production lines, despite a report which it commissioned saying neither posed a risk to workers at manufacturing plants.
The Cupertino-based company has spent four months looking into claims that the chemicals could cause health problems including leukaemia and nerve damage. It discovered no danger was posed to staff working in 22 factories across Asia.
The investigation was prompted by a joint petition started by Green America and China Labor Watch, which had raised concerns about the safety of benzene and n–hexane in the iPhone production process.
Apple’s decision is likely to improve its already impressive standing as one of the greenest tech companies in the world.
In April, Greenpeace rated Apple as a ‘green energy innovator’, alongside Facebook and Google. This came despite previous complaints that Apple’s slick green image was in stark contrast to realities on the ground.
Discussing the move by Apple, Green America Campaign Director Elizabeth O’Connell stated: “This is a good first step.”
She added: “
With iPhone 6 production ramping up, the move to ban benzene and n–hexane will also be seen as a move by Apple to stave off any negative headlines about its production processes.
Previously, there have been widespread complaints about working conditions and long hours endured at partner firms such as Pegatron and Foxconn.
The iPhone 6 is widely expected to be handed a mid-September launch, with the handset already facing competition from the metal bodied Samsung Galaxy Alpha unveiled yesterday, August 13.
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