For many people, Apple is a company that produces magic. While Steve Jobs has passed on, he has left behind a legacy that will never be forgotten.
Unfortunately, there is a darker side to Apple. Many iPad and iPhone components are manufactured in China by Foxconn, an electronics company. Many employees who work at Foxconn work in an oppressive environment, having strict timing and quotas for putting together iPad and iPhone components. Over the past year, there have been suicides at Foxconn, many of them by employees jumping to their death off of company buildings. In response to this Foxconn has installed netting around many of their manufacturing buildings.In addition to a poor working environment, many people are concerned about the environmental impact Apple’s products have. An iPad contains many rare earth metals, toxic components, and carcinogens. The industrial processes used to produce these parts release many dangerous toxins into the environment.One of the greatest environmental concerns in iPhone manufacturing is the mining of rare earth minerals. Rare earth minerals are integral parts of many modern electronic components, including circuits, GPS receivers, LCD screens, and computer processors. Rare earth minerals can be found in many parts of the world, but are mostly mined in China. Many of these minerals are embedded in very small quantities like natural ore, which requires a toxic refining process to yield a pure product. These refining processes dump many extremely toxic chemicals into the environment.

Cities around areas that mine these rare earth refineries have high rates of cancer, and have become known by locals in China as cancer cities.

While Steve Job’s company does not directly pollute, the contractors and part suppliers they use have a very serious environmental impact. Should these 3rd party component manufacturers be held accountable for their actions?

Another great Green article from Green Halo.
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