Apple is upping its green game in a big way, thanks in no small part to former-EPA-chief-turned-Apple-exec Lisa Jackson. The company recently announced an official ban of two toxins from its iPhone and iPad production lines, following a five-month-long “Bad Apple” campaign launched by China Labor Watch and Green America.
Benzene and n-hexane, used primarily to clean and polish electronics during the final stages of production, are known to cause a slew of negative health effects including leukemia and nerve damage. Activist groups harangued the company for its use of the chemicals until it conducted its own investigation of 22 of its plants.
Naturally, Apple’s internal probe found nothing of consequence (the use of the chemicals wasn’t widespread, it insists, and didn’t endanger a single worker; what little it did find fell well within the company’s existing safety standards). In true EPA style, though, Jackson and her team tightened the existing rules to explicitly prohibit the use of benzene and n-hexane in final assembly processes. Although the company will still use a tiny bit during the earlier stages of production, Apple, Jackson writes, “treats any allegations of unsafe working conditions extremely seriously.”
“This is doing everything we can think of to do to crack down on chemical exposures and to be responsive to concerns,” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environmental initiatives, said in an interview with The Associated Press. “We think it’s really important that we show some leadership and really look toward the future by trying to use greener chemistries.”
Apple has now released an actual list of the substances it regulates to the public, making the supply chain a little more transparent.