Roughly half the world's smartphones are made in China, where tens of millions work in the electronics-manufacturing sector. Workers in China and other countries that manufacture electronics are regularly exposed to dangerous chemicals without protective gear or adequate training, and some are developing serious illnesses such as leukemia and nerve damage. Sick workers do not always receive sufficient treatment.
Eliminate Toxic Chemicals
Stop the use of the most dangerous, toxic chemicals in smartphone supplier factories and replace them with safer alternatives.
Factories making smartphone products use toxic chemicals that cause cancer (carcinogens such as benzene), chemicals that cause birth defects and miscarriages (reproductive toxins such as the chemical toluene), and chemicals that cause nerve damage (neurotoxins such as n-hexane). Brands, starting with Apple and Samsung must identify and disclose all chemicals used in supplier factories as well as those in all their products. In situations where the danger of a chemical is unknown, brands must require proper testing. Apple and Samsung must institute and enforce appropriate exposure monitoring, medical monitoring, and effective training and management systems to ensure worker health and safety. Supplier factories must provide workers with adequate safety training and protective gear free of charge.
In response to Green America's Bad Apple campaign, in 2014, Apple agreed to ban benzene and n-hexane from supplier factories and is now engaging in a comprehensive approach to address toxins in its supply chain. However, Samsung has failed to take actions that address worker safety in its factories. Green America continues to mobilize consumers to put pressure on Samsung.
Ensure Adequate Medical Treatment
Create a fund to pay for the treatment of injured workers and ensure that all workers injured while making Apple and Samsung products receive adequate treatment. For workers struggling to access care, Apple, Samsung, and their supplier factories must institute a safe and rapid mechanism for workers to report illnesses.
End Worker Abuse
Apple, Samsung and their supplier factories must ensure compliance with the ILO’s eight Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, article 32 on the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, and national laws regarding occupational health and safety, worker benefits, and minimum wage for all workers, including young, migrant workers. Apple, Samsung and their suppliers must ensure worker empowerment to effectively oversee and enforce these rights without interference or retaliation from management.