Apple admits toxic chemicals disabled employees of Chinese suppliers

17:34, February 17, 2011      

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Apple iPad and iPhone are hot products in China, but the health of 137 employees of Apple's Chinese suppliers was adversely affected because of exposure to hexane in their working environment, according to a new company report.

Apple released its 2010 report on supply chain management, which publicly acknowledged for the first time that employees from Apple's Chinese supply chain were disabled from toxic hazards in the workplace.

The progress report on supplier responsibility devotes an entire chapter 25 pages long to explain the use of hexane: "In 2010, we learned that in Apple's suppliers Wintek Suzhou plant, 137 workers’ health was adversely affected due to their exposure to a hexane environment... ... We asked Wintek to stop using hexane, and provided evidence to prove that the chemical has been removed from the production line and also asked them to restore the ventilation system. Since taking the above measures, no workers were damaged due to exposure to the chemical. "

Hexane is a chemical used to clean the components in some of the manufacturing process. It is volatile but fast-acting so some suppliers ask staff members to use it to clean the Apple logo on Apple products. But this kind of chemical has strong toxicity.

At the same time, Apple Inc. said they had verified that all of the affected employees have been successfully treated: "We will continue to check the medical records of the workers until they have fully recovered. Wintek has paid the medical expenses and board wages and also reissued the wages in accordance with the requirements of Chinese law. Among the 137 workers, most of them have returned to working in the factory. "

However, reporters have learned some of the employees are being pressured to leave the company and were told "they can not get compensation if they do not leave the company."

By People's Daily Online
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