You can buy your pretty new iPhone 6 with somewhat of a clearer conscience later this year. Apple announced today that it's eliminating two known toxins — benzene and n-hexane — from the production of iPhone and iPads.
Activists groups have been pressuring Apple to remove the toxins for months, launching a petition that claims that over 1.5 million workers in China are exposed to the chemicals, which can cause leukemia, nerve damage, liver and kidney failure. In an independent investigation Apple said that they found no evidence the chemicals have harmed workers, even though there have been reports that workers have been sickened and at least one worker has died from exposure to n-hexane.
There's a small catch: Apple will still allow the chemicals to be used at earlier points in the production process (benzene and n-hexane are used for the cleaning and polishing of things like electronic components and touch screens). However, Apple will require testing of those environments to make sure the levels are lower than they are now.
"This is doing everything we can think of to do to crack down on chemical exposures and to be responsive to concerns," Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of environmental initiatives, told the AP. "We think it's really important that we show some leadership and really look toward the future by trying to use greener chemistries."
Hopefully these chemicals will join the list of recently phased-out toxins like arsenic, lead, and phthalates which Apple has proudly eliminated from their factories across the board. And here's also to hoping that this move towards safer manufacturing is paving the way for Apple to make more of their products in the U.S. [AP]