updated 09:35 am EDT, Mon October 15, 2007
Greenpeace vs. iPhone
Apple's iPhone is not in keeping with CEO Steve Jobs' promise to "green" the company, says Greenpeace. The environmental group claims that tests conducted by its UK labs reveal the presence of PVCs and brominated flame retardants (BFRs), both potentialy dangerous compounds. Of 18 internal and external parts, half of them are said to contain brominated material, including the antenna. The PVC in the headphone cables, meanwhile, contains toxic forms of phthalates, chemicals used to increase the flexibility of plastic.
Two of the phthalates are considered dangerous because they may hinder the sexual development of mammals, and are officially listed by the European Parliament as toxins. This does not make they illegal in cellphones, but they cannot be used in toys or any childcare products sold in the continent. Nokia is said to have eliminated PVCs from its phones; Motorola and Sony Ericsson have not, but they have released BFR-free devices.
Greenpeace also takes Apple to task over the iPhone's battery, which is glued and soldered into place, preventing easy replacement and recycling. Likewise, Apple does not have a take-back policy akin to those of Nokia and Sony Ericsson, who reuse and recycle phones old phones sent in to them.
Apple has been a target of Greenpeace for much of 2007, beginning with support of shareholder measures opposed by the company's board of directors, and then sharp criticism for the company's continuing use of toxic chemicals, among them PVCs and BFRs. Greenpeace did raise the company's environmental rank earlier this year, but has remained critical of the company's speed in implementing green products, as well as expanding its recycling efforts.