Greenpeace slams iPhone on environment

Environmental organization Greenpeace is gunning for Apple once again, this time arguing that the iPhone is full of hazardous chemicals.

Greenpeace has disassembled an iPhone to find out what’s inside, and claims to have uncovered two types of hazardous substances, some of which: “Have already been eliminated by other mobile phone makers,” the organization said.

This analysis claims the iPhone contains toxic brominated compounds (indicating the presence of brominated flame retardants) and hazardous PVC.

An independent scientific laboratory tested 18 internal and external components of the iPhone and confirmed the presence of brominated compounds in half the samples, including in the phone’s antenna, in which they made up 10 percent of the total weight of the flexible circuit board. A mixture of toxic phthalates was found to make up 1.5 percent of the plastic (PVC) coating of the headphone cables.

Zeina Alhajj, Greenpeace International toxics campaigner said: “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.”

Apple’s white earbud headphones came in for some particular criticism. Dr. David Santillo, senior scientist at the Greenpeace Research Laboratories, said: “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. 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.”

Comparing Apple to other manufacturers, Greenpeace notes that Nokia devices are PVC free, while Motorola and Sony Ericsson already have products on the market with BFR free components.

Greenpeace is also calling on Apple to initiate a global take-back policy on the iPhone. “With next month’s European launch of the iPhone, Apple should sell a version which is at least as green as the offerings from Sony Ericsson, Nokia and Motorola,” Greenpeace states.

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