Potential iPhone lawsuit

Jim Dalrymple
30 November, 2007
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The United States Center for Environmental Health said in mid-October that it has given Apple 60-days legal notice — a step required by California law before a lawsuit is launched. The action is based on the report by environmental group Greenpeace, released the same day (see sidebar), that found hazardous materials in Apple’s iPhone.

The Greenpeace tests revealed chemicals that included phthalates in the vinyl plastic earphone wiring at levels that are prohibited in young children’s toys in San Francisco and the European Union (EU).

Under California’s Proposition 65 law, products that can expose consumers to phthaltes or other chemicals that are reproductive toxins or carcinogens must carry a warning label.

“There is no reason to have these potentially hazardous chemicals in iPhones” said Michael Green, Executive Director of Center for Environmental Health. “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.”

The Center for Environmental Health wants Apple to label the iPhone clearly saying that it contains phthaltes, but ultimately it wants the company to get rid of them altogether. “In general what we try to do is encourage the manufacturers through a negotiated settlement to reduce the use of these chemicals,” Caroline Cox, a spokeswoman for the Center for Environmental Health, said.

An Apple Australia spokesperson told AMW that there was no guarantee that the same materials would still be in the iPhone by the time it is available in this country.

Cox said her organisation has had no communication with Apple yet.

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