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Tuesday, 16 October 2007 10:24

iPhone chemical structure may affect sexual development

Written by Nermin Hajdarbegovic

ImageImage

And it's bad for the environment, too


Greenpeace has once again crossed paths with Apple, claiming that the company uses toxic compounds in its production of the iPhone. The organization bought an iPhone earlier this year and shipped it to its UK based labs for testing.

Analysis revealed that the iPhone contains brominated flame retardants and hazardous PVC, and the enviromental organization has a detailed report about the findings. Brominated compunds were found in several internal and external components, and a mixture of toxic chemichals were found in the plastic coating of the iPhone headphone cables.

"Steve Jobs has missed the call on making the iPhone his first step towards greening Apple's products," said Zeina Alhajj, Greenpeace International toxics campaigner. "It seems that Apple is far from leading the way for a green electronics industry as competitors, like Nokia, already sell mobile phones free of PVC".

Do these chemichals really pose a serious health hazard ?

Well, Dr. David Santillo, Senior Scientist at the Greenpeace Research Laboratories, claims, "Two of the phthalate plasticisers found at high levels in the headphone cable are classified in Europe as 'toxic to reproduction, category 2' because of their long-recognized ability to interfere with sexual development in mammals."

Ouch. So, even those who don't give a damn about the environment now have a very good reason to avoid the iPhone.

Like many tech sites and reviewers, Greenpeace also bashed the iPhone battery, saying that it was glued and soldered into the handset, thus hindering replacement and separation for recycling or proper disposal. So, not only is the iPhone battery not user friendly and easy to replace, it's also not environmentally sound.

And what about the competition ? Greenpeace claims that Nokia is PVC free, Motorola and Sony Ericsson are already selling BFR free phones and all major phone makers have removed all potentially hazardous chemicals, even going beyond the current legal requirements. Nokia and Sony Ericsson also have a global recycling policy in place, meaning that old phones are properly disposed of with no risk to the environment. Apple does not.

"Apple should sell a version which is at least as green as the offerings from Sony Ericsson, Nokia and Motorola. Only then can loyal fans of Steve Jobs believe that his promises of a greener Apple will bear any fruit. Right now Steve appears to have any green product news 'on hold'", says Greenpeace.

It seems that Greenpeace is pushing this a bit too far, but we believe that Apple deserves some bad press for this issue, not that we expect mammoth corporations to be all nice and cuddly, but at least Cupertino can try to keep up with other major phone makers in the environmental department.

You can find out more on Greenpeace, here.

Last modified on Friday, 19 October 2007 05:42
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