Report: Apple Owes Workers and Public a Response over the Poisonings

Abstract A strike of 2000 workers has unveiled massive poisoning cases at United Win, a subsidiary of Wintek Corporation and an Apple Computers contractor in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. While cancellation of an annual bonus was a primary reason for the strike, workers have explained that they also protested over the poisonings. In the aftermath of the strike, workers were able to receive the annual bonus, but the health concern remains. Since the middle of 2009, rumours had circulated around the factory that workers were being poisoned at United Win. Just one day after the strike, which erupted on January 15, 2010, the Suzhou Municipal Administration of Work Safety confirmed in a press conference that 47 workers from United Win had symptoms of hexane poisoning. The authorities also stated that all the workers concerned were hospitalized. From various media reports, the hexane-poisoned workers were all from Apple’s production line. N-hexane was used to clean the touch screen of i-Phones. The Apple Supplier Code of Conduct specifies that “suppliers must identify, evaluate, and control worker exposure to hazardous chemical, biological, and physical agents.” Apparently, Apple has responsibility for the poisoning case as it failed to implement its code of conduct. It is disappointing that Apple has given no response to the public on this issue. In order to have a better understanding of the situation, SACOM conducted an investigation at United Win in March. Around 20 workers were interviewed, including some who are receiving treatment in hospital.
Author Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM), 3 May 2010
8 Energy Intensive Industries, 8.5.5 Electronics-Computers-Mobile Phones and Batteries