Apple makes supply chain substance regulations public, to create advisory board for safe chemical use

article thumbnail

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission as an Amazon Associate and affiliate partner on qualifying purchases. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content.

Following a decision to ban benzene and n-hexane from use in supplier factories, Apple for the first time made its Regulated Substances Specifications — supply chain restrictions for hazardous/toxic materials — available for public viewing for the first time.

Along with the list of regulations (PDF link), Apple VP of Environmental Initiatives Lisa Jackson on Thursday posted a letter online regarding the company's stance on safe working environments.

"Eliminating the risks from toxic substances in the products we all use has always been a passion of mine, and today it is one of our top three environmental priorities here at Apple," Jackson writes. "We continue to lead the industry in this area as we are committed to keeping both people and the environment healthy. That's why we've removed many harmful substances from our product designs and go to great lengths to make sure they stay that way."

Apple's environmental chief goes on to list a few examples of safely-made product designs, like PVC-free power cords and mercury-free displays, saying the company will continue to invest in innovative materials and manufacturing processes.

Further, Apple intends to create a new advisory board made up of chemical and pollution prevention experts who will be tasked with finding ways to minimize or eliminate toxins from the tech giant's supply chain. Meetings with stakeholders are also being planned to "seek out the best science, data, and solutions," Jackson says.

Earlier today, it was reported that Apple removed two chemicals — benzene and n-hexane — from its list of substances approved for use by partner manufacturers responsible for the final stages of iPhone production. The move came some five months after a petition by activist groups China Labor Watch and Green America called for the company to place a ban on the potentially dangerous substances.

Jackson addresses the claims directly in her letter, pointing out that Apple launched an investigation and sent out specialized research teams to inspect all 22 of its suppliers' final assembly factories. Although no health risks were found, the company decided to tighten restrictions on benzene and n-hexane, prohibiting their use in "final assembly processes."

"We're committed to removing toxins from our products and processes. Because everyone has the right to a safe product and a safe working environment," Jackson writes.