Greenpeace flames Apple over iPhone

Greenpeace flames Apple over iPhone

Smartphone still using PVC and BFRs, claims environment group

A new report from Greenpeace has blasted Apple for the use of what it claims are hazardous materials in the iPhone.

The environmental group claimed that a team of researchers in the UK disassembled the Apple smartphone and found that it contained brominated-flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics.

"[Apple chief executive] Steve Jobs has missed the call on making the iPhone his first step towards greening Apple's products," said Zeina Alhajj, international toxics campaigner at Greenpeace.

"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."

The use of PVC and BFRs in mobile phones is perfectly legal, but many electronics manufacturers have made the removal of both chemicals a central plank of their environmental campaigns.

Environmental groups allege that the substances can pose dangers to the environment when the electronics containing them are not properly disposed of after use.

Apple did not return a request for comment on the Greenpeace report.

Apple's environmental plan calls for the termination of PVC and BFRs in manufacturing by the end of 2008, although Greenpeace contends that not a single Apple product is currently free of both substances.

Greenpeace has a history of singling out Apple for its environmental practices, claiming that the firm has not lived up to its billing as an innovator and trend-setter when it comes to environmental policies.

The organisation ranked Apple last among 14 major electronics manufacturers in its Guide to Greener Electronics Survey published in April 2007.

The fallout prompted Jobs to issue a public statement defending the company and outlining Apple's environmental strategy.

Apple has since improved its rating, and was ranked 12th in the most recent Greenpeace report.