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Group slates iPhone 'green' witch-hunt

Greenpeace slammed for targeting Apple

Greenpeace's claims that Apple's iPhone contains a range of potentially dangerous chemicals have been slammed by chemical industry group The Bromine Science and Environmental Forum (BSEF).

BSEF points out that none of the substances Greenpeace is criticising Apple for deploying in the device are banned under existing environmental law.

"All the substances reported by Greenpeace are approved for use, and provide critical performance and safety functions in a wide range of electronic products," the organisation countered.

The bromine chemical industry trade body points out that the brominated flame retardants used in the iPhone are commonly used in electronics products from all manufacturers, as they provide a high level of fire safety - essential in an age in which computer batteries randomly catch fire.

Greenpeace's biggest sin, according to the chemical industry organization, is to have sensationalised its findings.

See also: Apple iPhone review

"The Greenpeace report does not say which brominated flame retardants are present in the iPhone because it does not know," BSEF said. "Therefore, the report speculates about what substances might be present, and raises an alarm without any basis for doing so."

The rebuttal continues to explain that - even according to Greenpeace's own study - the iPhone complies with all existing EU regulatory requirements.

It adds: "The brominated flame retardant most likely used in the iPhone is actually a reactive - it reacts with other substances to form a plastic and, once reacted, it is also no longer available to the environment. The Greenpeace report is incorrect in its assertions about the potential for releases to the environment."

The rebuttal also slams Greenpeace because its iPhone criticism ignored the requirement under recent EU law for manufacturers to take responsibility for the disposal of printed circuit boards, and railroads the environmental group for failing to offer a constructive alternative to brominated flame retardants for electronic devices.

Naturally, the chemical company trade body is protecting its own vested interests, but claims that its remit is "to ensure that the best available scientific information is used when addressing" issues concerning bromine.

BSEF members include Albemarle Corporation, ICL Industrial Products, Chemtura and Tosoh Corporation.

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