Apple bans hazardous chemicals used to make iPhone screens nice and shiny


In the past, the chemicals benzene and n-hexane, which are chemicals that make your iPhone screen so shiny, have been said to cause health problems for factory workers breathing in the fume.

But Apple has just announced that as of the iPhone 6, these complaints will be a thing of the past, as they are banning the use of the chemicals across their entire assembly line.

The announcement is the result of a four month investigation into how the chemicals impacted the health of 500,000 factory workers who assemble Apple’s iPhones and iPads. Although Cupertino says that during the course of this investigation it found no evidence that the chemicals posed any hazard, they’d rather be safe than sorry, which is why they will no longer use the chemicals across their supply chain.

Whether there is conclusive proof or not about the damage caused by being exposed to benzene and n-hexane, both substances have been linked to health problems including leukemia and nerve damage. In recent months, Apple has been under considerable pressure from activist groups such as the China Labor Watch and Green America to ban the chemicals.

Now they have. But don’t expect the iPhone 6 to be less shiny than its predecessors. The timing here is no coincidence. If Apple is banning these chemicals ahead of a major product launch, it must be because they’ve found an alternative that is just as good.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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