Apple has banned two potentially harmful chemicals which are used in the final assembly of its iPhone and iPad devices.
The ban is part of Apple’s commitment to safeguard the health of the factory workers in the production centers in Asia that are making the company’s devices.
The ban of the two chemicals, namely benzene and n-hexane,comes after five months from the launch of a petition drive by China Labor Watch and Green America that wanted Apple to stop the usage of the two chemicals in iPhone and iPad production.
Apple subsequently launched an investigation into the matter, which lasted for four months. The investigation involved 22 Apple factories, but returned no definite results that confirmed the hazardous potential of benzene and n-hexane on the roughly 500,000 employees working across all 22 factories.
Nevertheless, Apple decided to enforce a ban on the two substances from the final assembly procedure of the iPhone and iPads in the company’s factories.
Benzene is known to possibly cause leukemia, while n-hexane has been linked as a possible cause of nerve damage.
The usage of potentially hazardous chemicals such as n-hexane by Foxconn, a partner supplier of Apple, received attention from the media when entertainer Mike Daisey fabricated claims that factory workers were being exposed to the harmful substance, as Daisey criticized the working conditions of employees working within the supply chain of Apple and its devices.
This is not the first instance that Apple had been involved in an issue regarding the usage of n-hexane in its factories. Back in 2010, Winter, another supplier for Apple, revealed that it treated factory workers that were exposed to the chemical after 44 employees threatened to file a lawsuit over being exposed to n-hexane.
During the time of the threatened legal action, reports surfaced that 62 factory workers received treatments in the hospital over several months due to n-hexane poisoning.
The factory workers were said to have been forced to use n-hexane as opposed to safer alternatives such as alcohol because the harmful chemical because it dries faster and cleaner.
Reports on the issue surface just as the company is reportedly setting up to launch the iPhone 6 on an event in Sept. 9.
The iPhone 6 is widely expected to showcase larger displays through two models, with screens that measure 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches, and will also be running on the newly developed A8 processors. The smartphones are the anchors of the success of Apple, with the iPhone responsible for half of the company’s revenues.