Apple is facing intense pressure from a number of labor and eco groups to halt the use of certain harmful chemicals in the production of leading Apple devices.

Samsung, Dell and HP are also being targeted with requests to ban the use of solvents n-hexane and benzene during manufacturing.

China Labor Watch and Green America are not boycotting Apple products or taking a militant approach to their activism. But they are issuing passionate cries to the world's top tech makers to cease the use of these particular chemicals.

“Together with Green America, we demand that Apple takes responsibility and removes chemicals like the solvents n-hexane and the carcinogen benzene, which is known to cause leukemia providing its workers with a legal standard of welfare,” Kevin Slaten, program coordinator at China Labor Watch, told the Guardian.

The group says n-hexane is typically used to clean electronic displays. Benzene, on the other hand, is used as a cleaning and coating agent for electronic components. Both chemicals have been linked to an array of serious and potentially fatal health problems and diseases, the groups assert.

Breaking from Apple's usual playbook to avoid directly addressing such criticisms shortly after they're levied, an Apple spokesman provided the Guardian with a comment this week in response to the groups' efforts and request:

Over the past decade, Apple has led the industry in removing toxics like lead and mercury, brominated flame retardants and PVC from our products, which is good for workers as well as consumers. When it comes to handling chemicals and toxic substances, we require that our suppliers around the world meet or exceed respected US safety standards such as Osha, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. Last year, we conducted nearly 200 factory inspections which focused on hazardous chemicals, to make sure those facilities meet our strict standards. We also provide suppliers with training in hazardous chemical management, industrial hygiene and personal protection equipment as part of the Apple Supplier EHS Academy in Suzhou, China.
To read the full report from the U.K. Guardian, click here.

Source: The Guardian