Apple faces legal wrangle after ‘toxic’ iPhone report

17 October 2007
Environmentalists have threatened to take Apple to court over claims that its iPhone is ‘toxic’ unless it agrees to make a ‘greener’ product and inform consumers of the dangerous chemicals used in the phone’s manufacture.

The centre for Environmental Health (CEH), a campaign group based in Oakland, California, has given a time frame of 60 days before they go ahead with the law suit, which could have severe consequences on Apple’s reputation and that of the ground breaking ‘iPhone.’

The threat comes after a damning report from Greenpeace highlighted that fact that the iPhone contained dangerous levels of bromine, chlorine and phthalates – chemicals which are typically used to increase the flexibility of plastic.

Speaking about the report, Michael Green, Executive Director of CEH said: "There is no reason to have these potentially hazardous chemicals in iPhones. We expect Apple to reformulate their products to make them safer from cradle to grave, so they don't pose a threat to consumers, workers or the environment."

Following extensive testing of 18 internal and external components of the iPhone at an independent scientific laboratory, the presence of brominated compounds in half the samples was confirmed, including in the phone's antenna, which makes up ten percent of the total weight of the flexible circuit board. A further mixture of toxic phthalates was found to make up 1.5 percent of the plastic (PVC) coating of the headphone cables.

Protesters believe that Apple could have used the iPhone to boost its green credentials but now risks damaging its reputation at a time when being seen to be green is a deciding factor for many consumers when choosing which company they buy products from. And with phone giant Nokia already selling mobile phones free of PVC, Apple appears to have some catching up to do.

More that a million iPhones have been sold since the high profile US launch in June, and while the firm have yet to comment on the impending law suit, it has stated that it will voluntarily eliminate the use of PVC and brominated flame retardants by the end of 2008.

© Fair Investment Ltd

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