Apple bans two hazardous chemicals in overseas manufacturing

Apple bans two hazardous chemicals in overseas manufacturing
Apple has caught a lot of flak over the years for the conditions in overseas manufacturing plants where its iOS and Mac products are made, and the company has tried to take control as much as it can. Apple has raised wages in those factories and has tried to limit working hours (which has been less successful). Now, Apple is banning the use of two hazardous chemicals in overseas manufacturing plants.

Apple has been under pressure by China Labor Watch and Green America since March over the use of benzene and n-hexane in manufacturing, because both have been linked to health problems and there are better alternatives. Benzene is a cleaning agent, and n-hexane is a solvent. Benzene is a carcinogen known to cause leukemia, and n-hexane has been linked to nerve damage. Apple conducted an investigation and found that only four of the twenty-two manufacturers used by Apple used the chemicals and all four kept the usage to within safety limits. 

Despite this, Apple has mandated that the chemicals will be banned in the final stages of iOS and Mac product assembly. Although the chemicals can still be used in the earlier parts of the process, Apple has put limits on the amount of each that can be used; and, Apple has instituted mandates that all substances, even if they aren't supposed to contain either chemical. 

Green America credited the move as "a good first step", while Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of environmental initiatives, said of the new policies: "This is doing everything we can think of to do to crack down on chemical exposures and to be responsive to concerns. We think it's really important that we show some leadership and really look toward the future by trying to use greener chemistries."

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8 Comments

1. Python212

Posts: 363; Member since: Aug 13, 2014

props to apple

4. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

I'll agree with that here.

6. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

Kudos apple! But there's a lot to change in the work environment and wages of your company.

2. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

It's not a bad thing, but it's just a drop in the bucket, something where Apple gets some PR, but the world doesn't change. Overall, there are huge volumes of so many toxic chemicals used in China that eventually find their way to the sea, that vast regions of the ocean have been poisoned. Entire ecosystems of birds and marine life, even as far as the western coast of the US, are dying because of manufacturing in China. Unfortunately, when humanity's only god is money, this is what you get.

3. Jobayer

Posts: 167; Member since: Feb 22, 2013

PR or whatever . It's a good thing. How do you change the world ? one random act of kindness at a time. Apple is known to be a trend setter, if this catches on ...

5. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

I respect your belief in the "acts of random kindness" fairytale, but rarely is the world changed in this way. If you study history, you will see something far more brutal than this. Most change is accomplished through the exercise of power, often involving weapons and killing. Unfortunately, even change via war is not likely to alter the outcome of man's toxic poisoning of the planet.

7. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

It's a good first step, but in my experience, the only time real change happens is after a tragedy.

8. crusher

Posts: 16; Member since: Oct 20, 2012

Why cant china just ban these chemicals like in US, they pressurize american companies but not Chinese, isnt thier own citizens getting affected...

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