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Apple rated worst multinational polluter in China

Saturday, January 22, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: iPhone, pollution, health news

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(NaturalNews) Apple Inc. is known worldwide for creating computers, iPhones, and other electronic devices with unique lines and clean designs. But the multinational giant has also been pinned as the worst company for pollution and "occupational health hazard incidents" at its facilities in China.

Many large, multinational companies have operation facilities in China, including HP, Sony, Nokia, Samsung, and Toshiba. But among a list of 29 major companies that run facilities there, Apple turned out to be the worst overall, routinely evading inquiries from environmental groups about environmental pollution and other factory problems.

The report, issued by a group of 36 Chinese environmental groups, cites HP, BT, Alcatel-Lucent, Vodafone, Samsung, Toshiba, Sharp and Hitachi as among the best companies for both addressing environmental and workplace concerns, and working on specific ways to fix them. But at the bottom of the list were Nokia, LG, SingTel, Ericsson and Apple.

"Apple behaved differently from the other big brands and seemed totally complacent and unresponsive," said Ma Jun, author of the report and Director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, a Chinese non-governmental organization (NGO).

According to the report, in one incident in 2009, 49 Chinese workers for Apple were poisoned by n-hexane, a toxic chemical cleaning agent. After being hospitalized and left with "debilitating illnesses", Apple higher-ups did not even respond to inquiries from the victims about the issue, but subsequently removed the agent from its factories and discontinued its use.

When questioned about the incident and another similar one by various Chinese NGOs, Apple refused to confirm whether or not its suppliers were at all responsible. It did say that it regularly investigates and audits its suppliers to confirm that they are in compliance with Apple standards, but offered no further cooperation.

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