Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

Tell Apple to protect workers from dangerous chemicals

Seventy-five percent of the world’s population owns a cell phone, billions of which are made in China. In the United States, there are nearly 330 million active cell phones, more than one phone per person. As manufacturers rush to meet the rising demand for new and ever-cheaper consumer electronics, they often sacrifice the health and safety of workers.

Smartphones are regularly made in factories where workers do not have adequate training or protective gear for handling toxic substances. Exposure to dangerous chemicals can lead to cancer, leukemia, nerve damage, liver and kidney failure, and reproductive health issues, depending on the chemical and level of exposure.

There are hundreds of chemicals that are routinely used in electronics manufacturing processes—some are known carcinogens and reproductive toxins, and others are largely untested.  Manufacturers do not readily disclose the chemicals they are using. Protective gear and rigorous trainings on safe handling are needed but often not enforced, and problems of exposure are sometimes not detected until workers are already sick.

An estimated 1.5 million people work in Apple’s supplier factories in China. Committing to eliminate benzene, n-hexane and other chemicals known to be harmful to human health from Apple’s supply chain would help prevent more workers from losing their lives or livelihoods because of occupational illnesses from making iPhones.

Join Green America in calling on Apple to ensure that no more workers are poisoned while making Apple products and that workers who have become ill receive adequate treatment.

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