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Bad Apple Campaign Bad Apple Campaign: End smartphone sweatshops

These young workers, between 14 and 25 years old, move in hopes of working hard so they can help to support their families and save enough money to start a family of their own. What these workers don’t realize when they embark is that they may be risking their health, future ability to work, and even their lives.

Despite Apple’s Code of Conduct that prohibits the handling of dangerous chemicals without protective gear or training, extensive problems persist. Recent cases in Apple supplier factories have occurred in which workers have contracted leukemia due to benzene exposure2, nerve damage due to n-hexane exposure3, and skin conditions due to handling acidic chemicals without protection4.


There are hundreds of chemicals that are routinely used in electronics manufacturing processes—some are known carcinogens and reproductive toxins, and others are largely untested. Manufacturers do not readily disclose the chemicals they are using. Protective gear and rigorous trainings on safe handling are needed but often not enforced, and problems of exposure are sometimes not detected until workers are already sick. In the case of benzene, there are suitable and safer alternatives that are only slightly more expensive.5

Committing to eliminate benzene and other chemicals known to be harmful to human health from Apple’s supply chain would help prevent more workers from losing their lives or livelihoods themselves because of occupational illnesses from making iPhones.




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