Cleaning iPhone screens, 62 Chinese workers poisoned
From Hong Kong Wen Wei Po:
American multinational corporation Apple is going to launch iPhone 4G, Apple fans around the world eagerly await. But behind the fanaticism, some people paid for it with their health. In Jiangsu Province, China, during the manufacture of the iPhone touch-screen, at least 62 Chinese workers were poisoned and hospitalized due to use of toxic chemical n-Hexane for cleaning of the screens. Many of them have to be hospitalized for months.
A female worker who remained in hospital said she worked for a Taiwan-invested factory Wintek. Her health suddenly deteriorated last spring, hand numbness, having trouble balancing while walking, she was hospitalized in the summer. Other workers in the same dorm room also had the similar symptoms, headache, dizziness, pain in hands and feet etc.
Damage to peripheral nerves can cause paralysis
Until last August, when the hospital confirmed that these workers were poisoned by direct use of n-hexane, the factory then stopped using n-hexane. Experts pointed out that long-term exposure to n-hexane can seriously damage peripheral nervous system, and extend to the spinal cord, causing muscle atrophy and even paralysis.
It is reported that the factory manager decided to use n-hexane over alcohol because n-hexane dry faster, and he made workers directly using n-hexane in inadequately ventilated places. The factory has already dismissed him, and paid the medical expenses of the workers. It was reported that 44 workers already hired lawyers to make claims against the factory.
Although Apple is not responsible for the incident, some Hong Kong labor organizations thinks that Apple products are not cheap, company should spend a little more money to ensure a safe working environment for the workers.