What chemicals are in your Apple iPhone 5?

What chemicals are in your Apple iPhone 5?
Ranking the 36 phones tested

Ranking the 36 phones tested

What chemicals are used to manufacture your smartphone? It's a valid question and one that iFixit, helped by HealthyStuff.org, answered by breaking down 36 different models, including the Apple iPhone 5. The toxic nature of some of these chemicals continues to poison some assembly line workers who use n-hexane to clean glass while assembling a handset. The good news is that newer models contain much fewer worrisome chemicals. All of the phones that were classified as "high concern" by the testing, were made before 2010. Some of the best scores were found on recently released models including the Apple iPhone 5.

According to iFixit, 130 million cellphones a year are discarded with only 8% recycled correctly. The rest end up in landfills or incinerators and heavy metals are thus leaked into groundwater or into the air. Some states ban electronics from being dumped in those locations, but 32 states don't have such a law. And as an example of what could happen, iFixit points to over 41,000 acres in Indiana that was contaminated after one firm dumped electrical equipment into a landfill. The contaminant in that case is linked to liver, thyroid, and immune diseases.

Breaking down the Apple iPhone 5

Breaking down the Apple iPhone 5

The rankings of the 36 phones show six models that are "low worry" starting with the top ranked Motorola CITRUS. The rest of the models in that classification are the Apple iPhone 4S, LG Remarq, Samsung Captivate, the Apple iPhone 5 and the properly named Samsung Evergreen. The six phones on the bottom, those with "high concern" are the OG Apple iPhone, Palm m125, Motorola MOTO W233 Renew, Nokia N95, BlackBerry Storm 9530 and the Palm Treo 750. The rest of the devices in the middle of the pack are of "medium concern".

Looking at the Apple iPhone specifically, heavy metals like lead, chlorine and mercury can be detected throughout the device. Still, with a score of 2.75, it has almost half of the toxic chemicals ranking of the phone on the bottom of the list. Ironically, that model too is an Apple iPhone. The original model of the handset scored a 5.0.

source: iFixit

The chemical composition of phones has improved over time

The chemical composition of phones has improved over time

Related phones

iPhone 5
  • Display 4.0" 640 x 1136 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A6, Dual-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 1440 mAh(8h 3G talk time)



1. Smart

Posts: 76; Member since: Aug 20, 2011

Ok.....now I am scared........

14. doejon

Posts: 411; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

what do u mean with "are in YOUR Apple iPhone 5" better write THE apple iphone 5 :D :P

2. jmoita2

Posts: 930; Member since: Dec 23, 2011

lol... iPhones cause cancer and shrink your b*lls...

4. binerry

Posts: 99; Member since: Mar 16, 2012

That's right, keep telling yourself that.

21. PhenomFaz

Posts: 1236; Member since: Sep 26, 2012

not to mention they turn perfectly good human beings into sheep...baa baa :)

3. ilia1986 unregistered

Judging from the number of units sold so far - Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), benzoylmethylecgonine (Cocaine) and MS Contin, MSIR, Avinza, Kadian, Oramorph, Roxanol, Kapanol (Morphine).

9. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Now I see why some Apple fans turn into i$heep. It all makes sense now. lol ilia1986 you have OPENED my eyes! +1


Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

Wow, that's alot of iRadiation!!! Glad my DROID RAZR MAXX isn't on that death list!

12. Zero0

Posts: 592; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

Radiation is something else. All wireless devices release electromagnetic radiation (fancy for "radio waves"). As far as I know, they don't contain any compounds which release nuclear radiation (as in Uranium). These are toxic elements/compounds like lead and n-hexane. Side note: I kind of cringed when the article mentioned chlorine as a heavy metal. Chlorine is a nonmetal. It's a gas at room temperature.

6. ChrisG

Posts: 38; Member since: Aug 22, 2012

Great to see that my circa-2009 Captivate is in the "green zone" on this chart. Too bad I'm about to replace it. :-)

7. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4767; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Voluntary involvement in slow mass suicide! Lol!

8. speckledapple

Posts: 902; Member since: Sep 29, 2011

And think about it. There are 5 billion of these things around (according to that infographic from earlier?) Life is danger though.

10. santijosanchez

Posts: 12; Member since: Oct 04, 2012

I never thought that the GS3 would have more chemicals than the iphone :(

11. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Bigger and more advanced materials, perhaps?

13. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

I for one, wish there were more toxic chemicals in the ifraud. Can't imagine how a world with fewer ifans, could be a bad thing :-)

16. Zero0

Posts: 592; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

Yeah, that would be great. This way, when 92% of them get improperly disposed, everyone gets poisoned! The problem here is with manufacturers and disposal more so than everyday use, as far as I know.

15. nwright94 unregistered

Everyone's calling it poisonous when the android Jesus device isn't even in the green zone xD I wanna see where the Nokia lumia 920 or 900 stands, the 900 is still one of my favorite devices.

17. meowcenary

Posts: 187; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

Just about everything we use require some type of toxic material to manfacture. To clean and further aid in manufacturing are toxic/deadly industrial solvents. That airplane you flew in, the car you drove, the train you rode, the dslr you are using, and such is hazardous to our health. Try making something without certain chemicals in the matrix of a product and see how good it would last or operate. *shrugs* Pointless article in a consumer based society.......

18. Peter98

Posts: 119; Member since: Aug 01, 2012

Hahaha! Everything got poisonous and chemical ok? Don't tell me other devices made with minerals.

19. rusticguy

Posts: 2828; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

And how much Carbon footprint for all these devices? carbon footprint by computing the footprint for each component that goes into the phone. So something like Aluminium has a much higher footprint as compared to Plastic/polycarbonate etc... Or Global warming was a farce?

20. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

ifixt wants some iraditaion. they must be stupid or something just to look at some chemical that's inside of the iatom bomb and they should change their name

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