Apple has banned the use of two hazardous chemicals in the production process of its iPhone, iPad and Mac products, reports The Associate Press. The two chemicals, benzene and n-hexane, which were used by manufacturers as a cleaning agent and solvent agent respectively, have been linked to health problems. The decision comes five months after the activist groups China Labor Watch and Green America launched a petition calling on Apple Inc. to abandon the use of the two chemicals in question in the production of iPhones.
According to Apple, a four month investigation into 22 factories involved in the production of its devices found no trace of the chemicals in 18 sites with the other four using the chemicals within safety limits, not endangering the roughly 500,000 people who work at the plants.
Despite the findings, Apple has decided to ban the use of benzene and n-hexane entirely by all of its suppliers. Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environmental initiatives, told AP:
This is doing everything we can think of to do to crack down on chemical exposures and to be responsive to concerns. We think it’s really important that we show some leadership and really look toward the future by trying to use greener chemistries.
The two chemicals aren’t exclusively used in Apple’s manufacturing processes, with other large tech companies facing the same criticisms. Perhaps this is another example of Apple CEO Tim Cook shaping the company as a “force for good in the world” and other tech companies might follow suit.