Apple’s suppliers such as Foxconn, Dafu and Lian Jian Technology routinely violate China’s “Law on the Prevention and Control of Occupational Diseases.” Several manufacturers replaced alcohol with n-hexane, which is used to clean parts. It is a chemical that works better than alcohol, but poisons workers. In these factories, the workers, often women in their teens or 20s were forced to work with the poison in unventilated rooms.
Because of the chemical in suspected supplier Lian Jian Technology’s plant, Suzhou No. 5, People’s Hospital admitted 49 employees who fell ill. More employees were likely poisoned, but many were pushed out before they fell ill and Lian Jian forced them to sign papers saying they would not hold the company accountable. They left with 80 or 90 thousand yuan [$12 – $14,000] that they got in exchange for their lives and health, with fees and medical costs they would have to pay for the rest of their lives. Apple stands alone even among other IT companies, which routinely cause problems of heavy metal pollution in its evasiveness and refusal to work with green groups.
China is one of many developing countries, which make and export cheap products; however the pollution is then dumped in their own backyards.
Title: Rotten Apple: iPod Sweatshops Hidden in China
Author: Dan Margolis
Publication: People’s World
Date: January 25, 2011
Student Researcher: Aluna Soupholphakdy, Sonoma State University
Faculty Evaluator: Professor Elaine Wellin, Sonoma State University