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Mac Pro accused of creating toxic fumes [u]

updated 12:10 pm EDT, Mon September 29, 2008

Mac Pro toxic? [u]

(Updated with corrections) Mac Pros may be producing fumes that contain toxic chemicals, according to tests posted on a French site for Mac enthusiasts, MacBidouille. The testing laboratory, Analytika, used multiple sensors over a period of eight days to collect air circulated by the cooling fan. Using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, the report claims to have identified seven organic contaminants in the vapors.

The list of substances includes propanal, benzene, ethanone, isobenzofurandione, propanone and acetic acid. Most of the chemicals are considered irritants, but benzene has been found to elevate cancer probability in workers exposed to just 10 parts per million, according to the American Cancer Society.

Many Mac Pro owners have complained of strong odors, sometimes even reporting headaches or nausea. Apple has not yet publicly addressed the concerns, although some customers have posted on support forums, saying that AppleCare technicians have replaced components in order to solve the problem, with mixed results.

The anonymous Mac user that commissioned the study says he is a researcher at France's National Center for Scientific Research, and experienced considerable irritation of his eyes, nose, and larynx after just 10 days of exposure. Apple initially tried to fix the computer, but the smell did not subside, even after a replacement was issued.

Activist group Greenpeace is said to have referred the man to Analytika for further investigation. The lab has been involved with other high profile environmental issues, including research on the Erika oil spill. The company advertises its analysis services for the purposes of respecting the environment and quality control.

It is important to note that the study was qualitative, not quantitative, and without knowing the levels of chemicals, an accurate conclusion cannot be drawn regarding potential health risks.

by MacNN Staff



  1. noibs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    How Old?

    I think that many electronic products emit various toxic fumes when new, including Macs.

    I would like to know how old the MacBook Pro was that was tested and if the level of emissions dropped over time.


    Joined: Dec 1969



    More food for Greenpeas....

  1. JuanGuapo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    How different this than other notebooks from other manufacturers? Seriously, I'm curious.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Mac Pros not Macbook Pros

    Macbidouille's article is about Mac Pros not Macbook Pros !

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    that's not the mac causing the toxic fumes. Its the guy working on the computer.

  1. RandomUsername

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Ooooh, i'm scared

    Should i be scared to use my MacBook Pro?

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969


    More to the point.

    The article says they don't have actual numbers on the gases. Using alarmist words such as "toxic fumes" is very typical of enviro-whacko groups out there. I'm almost surprised MacNN is parroting it, but then again, it's MacNN.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This entire article, and the test related to it, deal with MAC PRO systems, and NOT MacBook Pro systems.

    Way to go, seeding FUD and incorrect information, as only MacNN can do.

  1. Roehlstation

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Age of Machine?

    It is a question as to whether the Mac is creating the fumes, or if this is simply the same off gassing that every new product is going to have. (New Car Smell)....I often have to question the education level of some of these "Labortories"

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969



    A GC-MS can detect just about anything. I can sample the twenty dollar bill in your pocket and I will find cocaine on it. True, at maybe 1 ppb, but i will find it. I've always liked to joke that mine can not only tell you what you ate for dinner last night, but what the cow you ate ate for dinner.

    The "analysis" is lame as it lacks any quantifiable data, controls, or comparisons to other common everyday electronic devices.

    The vapors of "New Car Smell" are also detectable/quantifiable, and let me tell ya are waaaay higher than something that turns air over.

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