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Will Your iPhone 6 Make Factory Workers Sick?


Nearly 1.5 million people work in Chinese factories that supply parts to Apple, and they are being exposed to harmful manufacturing chemicals.

Green America, a consumer group that promotes ethical consumerism, and The Nation, the oldest continuously published magazine in the US, have joined forces to bring attention to harmful chemicals that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) uses in its manufacturing.

In a mass email sent yesterday by Sarah Arnold, the community coordinator of The Nation, Arnold wrote, "Seventy-five percent of the world's population owns a cell phone, billions of which are made in China. As the demand for cheaper consumer electronics grows, workers are paying the price."

She wrote that those workers are exposed to harmful chemicals such as benzene and n-hexane, which are known to be carcinogenic and harmful to reproductive health. Moreover, she stated that manufacturers do not often disclose the chemicals they use and don't provide their workers with proper training.

Of course, Apple is one of the largest manufacturing employers in China: Approximately 1.5 million people work in Chinese factories that supply Apple with parts, many of them owned by manufacturing companies Foxconn (OTCMKTS:FXCOF) and Pegatron (OTCMKTS:PGTRF). Because of their exposure to chemicals like benzene and n-hexane, these workers are at increased risk of developing cancer, leukemia, nerve damage, liver and kidney failure, and reproductive health issues.

Green America and The Nation have arranged a petition for consumers to send directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook. You can support their effort here.

Follow me on Twitter: @JoshWolonick and @Minyanville
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