Apple Admits Safety Issues at Supplier
    2011-02-17 11:45:08      Web Editor: Yu

In this photo taken on Jan. 26, 2011, a man stands near Apple's iPad advertisement in Shanghai, China. [Photo: AP/Eugene Hoshiko]

Apple Inc. has acknowledged that 137 Chinese workers were poisoned after the unsafe handling of dangerous chemicals, the Beijing Morning Post reports.

A coalition of 36 of China's top environmental groups has claimed that "the employees have been taking in poisonous chemicals, with their rights and dignity being seriously trespassed on" in a report published in 2010.

The findings, outlined in Apple's annual supplier responsibility report, revealed on Wednesday that 137 workers suffered adverse health effects after exposure to n-hexane, a chemical used to clean components such as iPhone screens at a Suzhou facility of Wintek, one of Apple's suppliers.

Apple said it required Wintek to stop using the chemical and repair its ventilation system. It promised to audit the factory, which supplies parts to Apple and Nokia, again this year to ensure it is complying with its standards, and provide medical care to employees who fell ill from chemical damage. "Since these changes, no new workers have suffered difficulties from chemical exposure," the report reads.

However, some of the poisoned workers are requested to hand in their resignations. "I received a call from my manager sayingI was rated as nineth degree for work-related injuries and occupational diseases, moreover, he asked me when I will quit, since I must leave the company, since I will not be paid for the compensation" said Jia Jingchuan, an employee in Wintek, according to the report.

N-Hexane is widely used in the industry, especially as an ingredient of special glues used for roofing, shoes, and leather industries. Exposure to it can cause muscle wasting and atrophy. It can cause paralysis of the arms and legs if proper safety precautions are not followed.


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