Apple had to replace two harmful chemicals extant in the composition of its products with some safer alternatives. This has occurred after protests unfolded by various groups concerned with the health of consumers, like Green America and China Labor.
Apple was required to get rid of n-hexane and benzene which were part of the items it produced. These substances are dangerous and poisonous; nonetheless they are utilized in Chinese plants and factories. Apple plants in China are not exception.
In order to put an end to the accusation, the American company has decided to investigate twenty-two of its assembly factories in China. The company has declared that its investigators have found no threatening usage of the two substances in its plants. It also pointed out that the workers’ health was in good conditions. The investigation was done on a number of 500,000 employees.
There were four factories were these substance were found, but in a quite low concentration. Apple decided that there are safer alternatives to the two substances and as a result it decided to ban them from the production. This regulation will enter into force on the 1st of September 2014. Moreover, the company has decided upon a list of substances must not be used by its collaborators.
The association called Green America has asked Apple to be more open when it comes to the chemicals that are used during the manufacturing process of its products. The group has also demanded the American company to set the basis of a trust fund to help workers whose health had been damaged due to the substances used in the Apple products. There have been some protests in front of Apple stores in New York, organized to sensitize the public opinion upon these issues.
Apple has been closely watched over by various groups protecting workers since 2010 when several employees working for Foxconn committed suicide. Apple has done efforts to improve the working conditions. Nonetheless, the watchdogs groups consider that there is more work to be done, especially when it comes to wages and a better labor environment.
Benzene and n-hexane can still be used by Apple suppliers but only before the products are assembled and according to some very strict regulations. In 2009, a number of 137 employees working for a Chinese supplier entered into contact with n-hexane. Then, it 2011 some of them had health problems and asked Apple to pay for their medication.