Apple supplier threatens to sue newspaper over cancerous chemicals claim

Apple supplier threatens to sue newspaper over cancerous chemicals claim


iPhone 6 maker Foxconn is looking to lower its reliance on Apple.
The U.K's Daily Mail newspaper says Apple is currently investigating Foxconn over worker conditions.

Apple supplier Foxconn Electronics is reportedly considering legal action against U.K. newspaper The Daily Mail over claims that cleaning agents used in Foxconn’s Shenzhen factory may be to blame for multiple Foxconn employees developing leukaemia.

In its recent report, The Daily Mail says that Apple is investigating Foxconn after a cluster of leukaemia-related deaths among young workers at Foxconn.

At least 13 workers in their late teens and early 20s have been diagnosed with leukaemia at the factory since 2010. Five of these employees have since died, with families and a labour welfare group claiming the disease was caused by exposure to dangerous chemicals used to clean electrical panels.

Workers who fall sick are allegedly dismissed from work and denied continuing medical coverage.

Apple has said it is taking the allegations “very seriously” and is looking into the issue.

Foxconn for its part has demanded that The Daily Mail present evidence of its claim within one week. Furthermore it claims that there are factual details in the reporting, and that none of the employees with leukaemia worked with the dangerous chemical it is claimed they did.

Foxconn also cites figures saying that leukaemia is one of the top-10 causes of death in China, and is the top cause of death for children and people below the age of 35.

Since a company of Foxconn’s size should expect to have between 5-10 leukemia patients each year on average, the company is arguing that its 13 total cases from 2007-2014 is actually lower than the potential incidence rate according to national statistics.

Tim Cook has focused heavily on improving worker conditions in Apple’s supply chain during his time as CEO at Apple.

Foxconn recently announced record-breaking consolidated revenues of $131.82 billion for last year, while company chairman Terry Gou notes that he expects this year’s earnings to be even better thanks to the manufacturer scoring the bulk of iPhone 6 orders from Apple.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.