updated 10:15 am EDT, Mon October 22, 2007
Chem biz defends iPhone
A group representing the chemical industry has announced its support for Apple in defense of new criticisms from Greenpeace, accusing the company of continuing to use toxic chemicals in the construction of the iPhone, reports say. The Bromine Science and Environmental Forum (BSEF) claims foremost that none of the chemicals used are banned under any environmental laws, although Greenpeace points out that phthalates are restricted from use in child products in Europe. BSEF further argues that the brominates in the iPhone are essential, as they protect against fire in an era of self-combusting batteries.
The group's greatest complaint however is that Greenpeace has exaggerated its findings, and is in some instances just wrong. "The Greenpeace report does not say which brominated flame retardants are present in the iPhone because it does not know," a statement accuses. "Therefore, the report speculates about what substances might be present, and raises an alarm without any basis for doing so."
Another claimed example is that the brominated retardants "most likely" found in the iPhone are reactive, binding with other chemicals to form a plastic that keeps them out of the environment. Likewise, BSEF says that European law requires proper disposal of printed circuit boards, and that Greenpeace has proposed no alternative to brominates.
The Center for Environmental Health recently decided to sue Apple over the iPhone's contents, and specifically cited the Greenpeace report, not for mention of brominates but rather for the presence of phtalates in the headphone cables' PVC. Apple is legally required to warn customers of any carcinogens or reproductive toxins, the Center charges.