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Chemical Group Critical of Greenpeace iPhone Report
Monday, October 22nd, 2007 at 12:25 PM - by
Greenpeace called Apple to task over chemicals found in the iPhone, and now a chemical industry organization is doing the same to the environmental activist group. The Bromine Science and Environmental Forum (BSEF) claims the brominated chemicals found in the combination iPod and smart phone's earbuds are not only allowed, but are necessary to help prevent potential fires.
"The brominated flame retardant most likely used in the iPhone is actually a reactive -- i.e. it reacts with other substances to form a plastic and, once reacted, it is also no longer available to the environment," the BSEF report stated. "The Greenpeace report is incorrect in its assertions about the potential for releases to the environment."
The report also stated "The Greenpeace report does not say which brominated flame retardants are present in the iPhone because it does not know. Therefore, the report speculates about what substances might be present, and raises an alarm without any basis for doing so."
While Greenpeace slammed Apple for using brominated flame retardants in the iPhone, the BSEF defended the Cupertino company's actions. "Brominated flame retardants, which are commonly used in electronics to provide a high level of fire safety -- in certain applications, they are the most effective products available. Preventing fires in electronics is particularly important, as they often contain heat sources and significant amounts of highly flammable plastics."
The BSEF also pointed out that while there are alternatives to brominated flame retardants, or BFRs, they have not been well tested. The group added "In fact, all of the substances reported by Greenpeace are approved for use, and provide critical performance and safety functions in a wide range of electronic products."
The BSEF response to Greenpeace most likely takes the chemical group's best interests into account, but it also offers an important reminder: Environmental awareness is important, but so is product safety.
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