Dozens of iPhone Factory Workers Seriously Ill

Chinese workers hospitalized with nerve damage
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2010 8:24 AM CDT
Apple refused to confirm whether its products were involved, but the workers say they were making iPhone touch screens.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)

(Newser) – Dozens of Chinese workers have spent close to a year in hospital after sustaining nerve damage in a factory making iPhone components. The workers, mostly young women, were exposed to a toxic solvent they used to clean iPhone and iTouch screens, GlobalPost finds in part of a series of investigations into the supply chain behind popular gadgets.

The solvent was used in defiance of local laws, and workers were not given proper safety equipment. Some of the 41 workers still hospitalized say others left the factory when they became ill, losing any chance of compensation. Labor rights groups say the mass poisoning highlights the problem with outsourcing policies by technology companies. They urge Apple—which refused to comment on the story—to take a more hands-on approach to worker safety.

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