Apple Inc admits fault in scandal

18:08, February 18, 2011      

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The photo taken on Feb. 18, 2011 shows the gate to a facility of Taiwan-based Wintek, one of Apple's touch screen suppliers, in Suzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province. In a report released on Tuesday, gadgets giant Apple Inc. admitted for the first time that 137 workers at the factory of United Win Technology Ltd, a Wintek subsidiary on the Chinese mainland, had suffered health problems following exposure to n-hexane, a toxic solvent used to clean touch screens. (Xinhua/Li Junfeng)While Apple is enjoying hot worldwide sales of its fashion electronics, its health and environmental responsibilities have come under fire in China.

Poisoned workers at one of Apple's supplier factories on the Chinese mainland have demanded a formal written apology from the Mac maker despite its recent acknowledgment of violations in its supply base. The workers also said that some of them have been asked to leave their jobs.

The California-based maker of iPods, iPhones and iPads acknowledged for the first time in the Apple Supplier Responsibility 2011 Progress Report on Tuesday that 137 workers at the Suzhou facility of Wintek, one of Apple's touch screen suppliers, had suffered adverse health effects following exposure to n-hexane, a chemical in cleaning agents used in some manufacturing processes.

It said the company considered this series of incidents to be "a core violation for worker endangerment" and required the factory to stop using the chemical while it improved its ventilation system.

"Since these changes, no new workers have suffered difficulties from chemical exposure," it said.

The company also said it required Wintek to work with a consultant to improve its environmental health and safety processes and management systems, and it is monitoring the implementation of these corrective actions and preventive measures. A complete reaudit of the facility will be conducted in 2011, it said.

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