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iPod, iPhone Contain High Levels of Toxic Chemicals, Violate California Law

Wednesday, December 12, 2007 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: iPod, iPhone, consumer electronics

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(NewsTarget) The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) has announced that the results of independent tests confirm earlier Greenpeace findings that headphone cords used in Apple Inc.'s iPod and iPhone contain high levels of phthalates. According to a lawsuit filed by CEH, Apple's failure to include a warning label on these products places the company in violation of California law.

"There is no reason to have these potentially hazardous chemicals in iPhones," said CEH Executive Director Michael Green. "We expect Apple to reformulate their products to make them safer from cradle to grave, so they don't pose a threat to consumers, workers or the environment."

Phthalates, used to soften plastic and make it flexible, have been found to demonstrate hormone-disrupting effects that can lead to reproductive or developmental diseases or deformities.

Under California's Proposition 65, any product exposing consumers to carcinogens or reproductive toxins must carry a warning label. Yet the most recent test announced by CEH found 6,200 parts per million (ppm) of phthalates in the iPhone headset cable and 6,300 ppm in the iPod's headset cable, levels even higher than the 5,070 ppm that Greenpeace found in the iPhone headset cable.

"Apple customers should know that when they get their hands on an iPhone they may be getting a dose of toxic chemicals as well," Green said. "It's clear that Apple's priority is to market new products as fast as possible, not as safely as possible. For their customers who are buying now, that's just not good enough."

Apple has not responded directly to CEH's litigation letter, but the company did announce that it plans to phase all polyvinyl chlorides (PVCs) out of its products by 2008. According to Apple, PVCs are the source of the phthalates in the headset cords.

The company has drawn criticism from CEH and other environmental groups before, which charge that Apple does not have sufficient policies for the recycling and disposal of e-waste.

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