Apple ranks last in concern for worker health on a new list of 29 international technology companies doing business in China. The list was compiled by 36 Chinese environmental groups that accuse Apple of repeatedly ignoring concerns about pollution and the health of the workers at the factories that make Apple product parts.
"One of the health hazard cases the groups say Apple did not respond to was the poisoning of workers at Lianjian Technology, a subsidiary of Taiwan-based Wintek, which produces touchscreen modules for Apple mobile devices.
In that case, 49 workers were hospitalised and diagnosed as having been poisoned with the chemical cleaning agent n-hexane in 2009, a case widely publicised in Chinese state media. The workers claim to have been left with debilitating illnesses and say they have not received any response to complaints they sent to Apple.
A spokesman for Wintek said the factory immediately stopped using the cleaner and has greatly improved working conditions at its factories since then.
When the Chinese environmental groups brought this and another case to Apple’s attention, the NGOs say the company refused to confirm or deny whether the polluting companies were their suppliers and would not respond further.
'Apple behaved differently from the other big brands and seemed totally complacent and unresponsive,' said to Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, a well-known Chinese NGO and the main author of the report."