After some pressure from rights group Green America and an investigating of its own, Apple has agreed that it will take steps to stop allowing suppliers from using dangerous chemicals that can have long-term effects on the health and well-being of its workers.
Apple announced on August 13 that it has taken the first steps to protect the workers who make their products (iPhones, iPads) overseas by banning the use of benzene and n-hexane in the final assembly of its products.
In a statement of its own Green America said that it will continue to urge Apple to go even further in its efforts to ensure the safety of all workers in its supply chain. While benzene and n-hexane were highlighted by Apple, Green America says that there are thousands of chemicals used in the manufacturing of electronics and many of them have not been tested to ensure that they are safe for workers to be exposed to.
Green America is urging Apple "to disclose all of the chemicals used in the manufacturing processes of its products, not just those with restrictions."
And while the group applauds Apple's to investigate its outsourced workforce in China, it also notes that it only investigated 22 of the 349 supplier facilities it does business with in China. Those facilities represent an estimated 1.5 million workers. Apple uses these facilities to build its iPhones and iPads.
The group also points out that Apple is still allowing benzene, n-hexane, and many other "potentially hazardous chemicals" to be used in its second and third tier suppliers.
"This announcement and the preceding investigation shows that Apple listens to its customers," said Elizabeth O'Connell, campaigns director at Green America. "However, Apple needs to go further to create a safe environment at all factories in their supply chain for the health and safety of all 1.5 million workers."
The Daily Telegraph has more on this story here.