User created design from the Green my Apple campaign.
An independent scientific laboratory tested 18 internal and
external components of the iPhone and confirmed the presence of
brominated compounds in half the samples, including in the phone's
antenna, in which they (1) made up 10 per cent of the total weight
of the flexible circuit board. A mixture of toxic phthalate esters
(2) was found to make up 1.5 per cent of the plastic (PVC) coating
of the headphone cables.
The insight into the components of the iPhone is presented in
the Greenpeace report, 'Missed call: the
iPhone's hazardous chemicals' (3). This is the third time that
Greenpeace has tested an Apple product since 2006. Similar analyses
of a MacBook Pro and an iPod Nano also revealed the presence of
brominated flame retardants and PVC in some components.
Apple launched the iPhone into the US market in June 2007. The
discovery of hazardous chemicals suggests that Apple is failing to
make early progress, even in entirely new product lines, towards
achieving its commitment to phase-out all uses of brominated
compounds and PVC by the end of 2008.
"Steve Jobs has missed the call on making the iPhone his first
step towards greening Apple's products" said Zeina Alhajj,
Greenpeace International toxics campaigner. "It seems that Apple is
far from leading the way for a green electronics industry as
competitors like Nokia already sell mobile phones free of PVC."
Dr. David Santillo, Senior Scientist at the Greenpeace Research
Laboratories, co-ordinated the project and deconstructed the iPhone
for analysis. He said, "Two of the phthalate plasticisers found at
high levels in the headphone cable are classified as "toxic to
reproduction, category 2" because of their long-recognised ability
to interfere with sexual development in mammals. While they are not
prohibited in mobile phones, these phthalates are banned from use
in all toys or childcare articles sold in Europe. Apple should
eliminate the use of these chemicals from its products range."
During its analysis, Greenpeace also found that the iPhone's
battery was, unusually, glued and soldered in to the handset. This
hinders battery replacement and makes separation for recycling, or
appropriate disposal, more difficult, and therefore adds to the
burden of electronic waste.
"Apple needs to re-invent its iPhone…in green," continued
Alhajj. "The company needs to design out all hazardous substances
and materials from its products so that a real solution is found
for the growing mountain of e-waste," concluded Alhajj. "Whether
the iPhone model due for European release in November 2007 also
relies on brominated internal components and PVC is a question
Steve Jobs needs to answer."
Video to Steve Jobs
Other contacts: Zeina Alhajj, Greenpeace International Campaigner +31 (0) 6 53128904Dr. David Santillo, Greenpeace Research Laboratories +44 (0)7813 874489Omer Elnaiem, Greenpeace International Communications +31(0) 6 15093589Contact, John Novis, Greenpeace International Head of Photography for Images of the dismantled iPhone + 31 (0) 653 81 91 21Contact, Maarten van Rouveroy, Greenpeace International Video Producer, for the Video of the dismantled iPhone +31 (0) 6 4619 7322
Notes: (1) Bromine: Whether in additive or reactive form, the presence of high proportions by weight of bromine in electronic components is of concern with respect to the disposal or recycling of end-of-life iPhone handsets, as even cross-linked organic-bound bromine can contribute to the formation of toxic chemicals, including persistent and bioaccumulative brominated dioxins and related compounds during thermal destruction or processing.(2) Phthalates: The European Directive 2005/84/EC prohibits the use of di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate(DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and benzyl butyl phthalate(BBP) in all toys or childcare articles put on the market in Europe (with a limit of 0.1% by weight).