I should have known by the tepid headline that there really was no story here but I got sucked in nonetheless. The headline screamed “Scientific tests reveal iPhone contains hazardous chemicals and materials“. Not exactly what I want to hear about such a beautiful product, but I bet the phones radiation kills me before its toxins. The release, put out yesterday by Greenpeace, is accompanied by a PDF report which actually has a slightly different conclusion then the release.
Here is the conclusion from the report:
“Of the 18 different internal and external components and materials tested from an Apple iPhone purchased in the USA in June 2007, all would appear to be compliant with the requirements of the EU’s Directive on use of certain hazardous substances in electronics and electrical goods (the RoHS Directive).”
Here is the opener from the release:
“An independent scientific laboratory tested 18 internal and external components of the iPhone and confirmed the presence of brominated compounds in half the samples, including in the phone’s antenna, in which they (1) made up 10 per cent of the total weight of the flexible circuit board. A mixture of toxic phthalate esters (2) was found to make up 1.5 per cent of the plastic (PVC) coating of the headphone cables.”
While I agree with Greenpeace on the need for Steve and his team at Apple, to make their products more earth friendly this release was the wrong way to do it. First, it assumes that no one will bother to read the full report and note that the emphasis in the release is a bit over-reaching. There is a time for the carrot and a time for the stick, this was an opportunity to use the carrot with Apple and the good folks at Greenpeace blew it.