Environmental Center Threatens Suit Against Apple

The group says levels of a toxic substance in the iPhone exceeds California state limits.

The Center for Environmental Health says it plans to file a lawsuit against Apple, claiming that the levels of a certain toxic chemical in the iPhone violate California law.

The Oakland, Calif.-based CEH stated in a press release Oct. 15 that the level of phthalates—chemical compounds used in the creation of PVC (polyvinyl chloride)—in the iPhones earphone wires exceed those allowed by the states Proposition 65, which states that items that could expose users to chemicals that are carcinogens or reproductive toxins.

"There is no reason to have these potentially hazardous chemicals in iPhones," CEH Executive Director Michael Green said in the release.

This information, the CEH said, is based on a report by Greenpeace. However, that report was based on the sample of a single iPhone unit.

By California law, all parties planning to launch a lawsuit must give a 60-day notice prior to filing.


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After previous concerns were expressed by environmental groups, Apple CEO Steve Jobs posted an open letter, titled "A Greener Apple," on the companys Web site.

The letter stated that "in many cases Apple is ahead of, or will soon be ahead of, most of its competitors in these areas." In it, Jobs also outlined present and future steps the Cupertino, Calif., company plans to take to reduce toxic components and waste.

When asked for a response to the CEH statement, an Apple spokesperson reiterated the statements of "A Greener Apple."

"Like all Apple products worldwide, iPhone complies with RoHS [Restriction of Hazardous Substances directive in the European Union], the worlds toughest restrictions on toxic substances and electronics. As we have said, Apple will voluntarily eliminate the use of PVCs…by the end of 2008," she said.


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