BadApple campaign wants Apple loyals to pressure the company for increased labor safety
This Tuesday, Washington, D.C.'s GreenAmerica shed light on toxic chemical exposure in Apple devices'production process, and held a conference the day after. Theorganization, which is backed up by NY-based China Labor Watch, citedindustry insiders to reaffirm a strong statement - it will cost Applea mere $1 per product to substitute benzene and n-hexane, two veryhazardous chemicals used by workers for cleaning and polishingproduction materials. Multiplied by the iPhone production volume,which is well into the tens of millions, this $1 would pile up ahefty additional cost. Nevertheless, such expense is not an excuse,as continuous exposure to these substances can, and has causedleukaemia and other diseases among employees.
The campaign's official outlet is theBadApple website, where a MP3 of the conference is available, alongwith an on-line petition form to end poisonous chemical use. There'salso a very depressing 10-minute documentary (which isn't aimedsolely at Apple, by the way) about poisoned workers in Chinesefactories. It tells all that needs to be known about the impact ofwhat is, unfortunately, only one of many severe labor issues. Inaddition, Green America is asking Apple to organize a healthcare fundwhich will help workers who fall sick due to poisoning and otherwork-related incidents. A Frequently Asked Questions page clearlyexplains that the campaign isn't boycotting Apple, and containsthorough information about its intent and desired outcome.
Green America hopes that Applecustomers will join the movement and send the company letters to makeit replace the toxic chemicals with proposed safer alternatives. "Weknow from experience that once you get a certain amount of consumerpressure, the company will listen to that opinion." - saidElizabeth O'Connel, campaign director.
"When itcomes to handling chemicals and toxic substances, we require that oursuppliers around the world meet or exceed respected U.S. safetystandards such as OSHA, the National Institute for OccupationalSafety and Health, and the American Conference of GovernmentalIndustrial Hygienists. Last year, we conducted nearly 200 factoryinspections, which focused on hazardous chemicals, to make sure thosefacilities meet our strict standards. We also provide suppliers withtraining in hazardous chemical management, industrial hygiene andpersonal protection equipment as part of the Apple Supplier EHSAcademy in Suzhou, China."
Although BadApple comes across as aname for a smear campaign, Green America has no ill intent. It choseto target Apple, because it believes “Apple has the power toimprove working conditions throughout the electronics-manufacturingsector by influencing both its suppliers (like Foxconn, Pegatron,Quanta, Primax) and its competitors.” The company is thelargest and most influential client of these contract manufacturers,and is extremely popular in the consumer space.