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Greenpeace Unveils Apple’s iPhone big secret

Greenpeace discovered that the iPhone, made by Apple, has high levels of hazardous chemicals in the device.

The chemicals uncovered from the iPhone include phthalates in the earphone wiring at levels that are prohibited in young children’s toys, according to Greenpeace.

The organization said it tested 18 components of the iPhone.

The study was done by an independent lab in the U.K. which also found toxic brominated compounds and hazardous PVC (polyvinyl chloride) in multiple components of the handsets.

Bromine, a chemical used in fire-retardant compounds, was present in more than half of the 18 tested samples taken, Greenpeace claimed, while toxic phthalates made up 1.5% of the PVC coating of ear bud cables.

In no instances, however, did any of the tested iPhone components — which included the four circuit boards, the battery casing and the internal case — appear to violate European Union regulations, Greenpeace acknowledged.

Even so, the discovery of bromine and PVC raised the group’s ire, in part because other mobile phone makers have eliminated the chemical and the hard-to-recycle plastic. Nokia Corp.’s handsets, for example, are PVC-free, said Greenpeace, while Motorola Inc. and Sony Ericsson have bromine-free models on the market.

The group also knocked Apple for not offering a global take-back recycling policy to match those of Nokia and Sony Ericsson, and asked what would happen to the several million iPhones that Apple plans to sell in its first year.