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Citizens for Justice and Peace

Workers building iPhones in China exposed to toxic chemicals: China Labour Watch

19, Jan 2018 | CJP Team

The Guardian reported that a report alleges that 90 workers were taken to the hospital in May 2017, following a chemicals leak at a Catcher Technology factory in China where items including metal frames for the iPhone 8, Mac keyboards and parts for other technology companies such as Dell and Sony. The report is from rights group China Labour Watch (CLW), published in association with the Guardian. Leaked chemicals included phosphorous and sulphur. The report includes workers’ claims of having to work in arduous conditions for insufficient pay, and exposure to toxic chemicals. Apple and Catcher denied these allegations, and said the workers were taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure. A 2014 CLW probe found that workers had exposure to toxic chemicals, prompting the companies to state that they expected supplies to conform to the highest standards. CLW’s executive director has alleged further failures on Apple’s part. The report includes evidence indicating overtime exceeding 70 hours/month, when, Chinese law typically allows 36 hours/month. Investigating three Catcher-owned factories in China, the report includes wastewater analysis revealing it exceeded standards for water quality tests such as chemical oxygen demand and suspended solid levels. The report indicated that the conditions presented long-term health risks for workers. For example, the report mentioned that “during the manufacturing process, chemical cutting fluids and metal particles would often splash” into the CLW investigators’ eyes, but noted that workers aren’t given safety goggles. 

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