Banned toxic chemicals in iPhone

Apple's iPhone contains banned toxic chemicals that could damage health and the environment says Greenpeace

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By  Mark Sutton Published  October 16, 2007

A new report from Greenpeace suggests that Apple's iPhone contains harmful chemicals that are banned from use in children's toys by European law.

Greenpeace Research Laboratories in the UK analyzed the components and casings of the iPhone, and found that it contained toxic brominated flame retardants (BFRs), which can be harmful to the environment, and that the vinyl plastic earphone coverings contain phthalates, chemicals that can damage health.

"The phthalates found in the headphone cords are classified in Europe as ‘toxic to reproduction' because of their long-recognized ability to interfere with sexual development. While they are not prohibited in mobile phones, these phthalates are banned from use in all toys or childcare articles sold in Europe. Apple should eliminate the use of these chemicals from its products range," said Dr. David Santillo, senior scientist at the Greenpeace Research Laboratories.

The report also criticized the construction of the iPhone, saying that the battery is soldered and glued into place, which makes battery replacement difficult and further undermines recycling of the iPhone when it is discarded.

It is not the first time that Apple has been criticized by the environmental pressure group. In it's December 2006 Guide to Greener Electronics, Greenpeace ranked Apple as the worst producer of consumer electronics in terms of its policies and processes for using toxic chemicals in products and how suitable the products are for recycling.

The poor performance of Apple prompted Greenpeace to launch its 'Green My Apple' campaign, which aimed to convince the company to improve its production processes and materials. In response, Apple CEO Steve Jobs promised to phase out all PVC plastics and BFRs by the end of 2008, but Greenpeace says that the iPhone is a step in wrong direction.

"Apple missed a key opportunity when it rolled out the iPhone in June. There is no reason why the iPhone could not have been made without toxins like vinyl plastics and brominated flame retardants as Nokia is already doing," commented Rick Hind of Greenpeace.

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