Two potentially hazardous chemicals have been banned by Apple after it was discovered that they have been used during the last assembly phases in 22 of the production plants that they are used for the production of iPhone and iPad.
The carcinogen Benzine and n-Hexane which is known to lead to nerve damage have been taken off the list of products that are to be used as cleaning agents at the plants a spokesperson has confirmed.
It is as a result of a campaign that Apple has acted and a member of one of the campaign groups has claimed that Apple should “look deeper into its supply chain”.
Apple have responded by saying that there is “no evidence of workers’ health being put at risk” despite 4 plants being found to contain traces of the two items. The commitment to launch an investigation regarding the chemicals has been confirmed by Lisa Jackson who is the environmental director and continued by saying “We’ve updated our tight restrictions on benzene and n-hexane.
In a further step towards transparency, Apple has now made public the guidelines that covers “regulated substances specification” which had always remained confidential.
When questioned regarding the sites where the chemicals were found it has been revealed that the majority of them were in China and it is estimated that half a million people are employed there. Critics have accused Apple of “widespread disregard” for safety despite the fact that these subjects can be found in cleaning products.
Based in New York, China Labor Watch have been speaking to the BBC and while they welcomed the commitment that was being made by Apple they would feel more secure when they knew that they had implemented the changes.
Li Quang the organizations executive director has told reporters “Apple has for years had commitments to labour standards, but had concerns regarding “Apple’s ability to monitor whether implementation is taking place”.
Green America has also become involved in the debate and wants Apple to go further than they have already committed when it comes to safety for their workers. A representative has said “there are thousands of chemicals used in the manufacturing of electronics – some of which are largely untested”
They also claim that Apple has to take a good look at its supply chain and check that workers on the second and third tier are not being given the same standard of protection as the rest of the workforce.