Environmental organisation Greenpeace revealed that Apple’s latest product the iPhone contains hazardous chemicals and materials. This is the result of scientific tests commissioned by Greenpeace which were released today.
Dr. David Santillo, senior scientist at the Greenpeace Research Laboratories co-ordinated the project and deconstructed the iPhone for analysis.
"Electronic companies have traditionally relied on the cool clean image of their devices in order to sell them. What we have found over the years is that once you get behind that shiny cover the story can be very different", he says.
An independent scientific laboratory tested 18 internal and external components of the iPhone. These test confirmed the presence of toxic brominated compounds in the phone’s antenna. A mixture of toxic phthalates was found on the plastic coating of the headphone cables.
The analysis also revealed that the iPhone’s battery is – unusually – glued and soldered in the handset. This hinders battery replacement and makes separation for recycling or appropriate disposal more difficult.
"Now we may be quite unaware that these things are present when we are using the devices. They become a particular problem when we throw these devices away, when they go into the recycling system they can cause quite substantial exposure to those people involved in the recycling", according to Dr. David Santillo.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of tonnes of disposed electronic products are exported from the developed world to to developing countries in Asia such as China and India. Here, this so-called e-waste is being taken apart without proper measures to protect the health of the workers and the environment.
Environmentalists say the devastating effects of e-waste on human health and the environment will only be solved when the electronics companies make clean products and take responsibility for them when they are discarded.
In May 2007, Apple’s Chief Executive Steve Jobs made a statement announcing a "greener" Apple, pledging to eleminate the use of hazardous chemicals from its products. Greenpeace considers the presence of toxic chemicals in the iPhone a failure to make early progress on these commitments.
"It was disappointing to see the first release of the Iphone putting on the market a toxic product. We hope that the next release of the Iphone on a global level will bring us a greener I-Phone", said Greenpeace campaigner Zeina Alhajj.
The iPhone is due for release in Europe on November 9th 2007.