IPhone workers still sick after chemical poisoning

The two workers for Apple supplier Wintek say they are being pressured to quit to gain compensation

By Michael Kan, IDG News Service |  Green IT, Tech & society

The company has handled workers exposed to n-hexane on a case-by-case basis, Huang added. Workers exposed to the chemical, but later diagnosed to be fully recovered, signed an agreement indicating this. The company used "objective measurements" in its examinations. Workers who had fully recovered would not have reoccuring symptoms.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

Chinese environmentalist Ma Jun, the head of the Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), has been following the situation. He said the amount of compensation depends on the worker, but could vary between US$10,000 to $13,000.

"But the workers concern is that the hospital treatment is very high in cost. Some of them feel they have the symptoms and that their condition is deteriorating," he said. "Some of them are asking for a re-examination, for a new physical, to try and clarify their condition."

Last month, IPE and other environmental groups released a report criticizing Apple for not being transparent enough about its suppliers. Ma called Apple's newest progress report a "positive step forward" noting that the company had acknowledged the problems at the Wintek factory.

But still, the statements Apple has made about the progress at the facility do not match up with the accounts of the workers Ma has talked to.

"I think Apple should openly review all of these problems and try to resolve all the potential risks," he said.

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