Apple unveiled the new line of its most relevant devices, the iPhone 12, in an announcement that was not without controversy among users, since it eliminated some accessories that were included with the phone, such as the charger and headphones; However, this new range of smartphones also excluded some chemical elements in favor of the environment and the user.
During the presentation of the new device, Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, explained that harmful chemicals, such as arsenic in the screens, mercury and beryllium, among others, were removed.
Although these elements are usually present in such small quantities that they do not pose a risk to the health of users, the fact that the Cupertino company has highlighted this aspect may be relevant for certain sectors of the population.
Arsenic, for example, can be present in electronic devices through communication chips, in addition to screen glass, as it is used as a decolorizer in the manufacturing process of this glass; however, it can be a toxic element if a person is exposed to it for a long time and in very large amounts.
In this sense, those who could be affected by this element are not the users, but those who intervene in the industrial processes of the devices.
Another couple of elements that Apple separated from these iPhones are brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Regarding the first case, the technological ones usually use it, since they inhibit the combustion of objects, but they have also been questioned, due to its toxicity and polluting capacity. Even the European Union has regulated its use.
Regarding PVC, the doubts are deeper, since it is a common material in people’s lives; However, a report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO), noted that it could be problematic for people who work with it in industrial processes, as it has a carcinogenic capacity if inhaled.
According to Apple, “a BFR-free, PVC-free material is one that contains less than 900 parts per million (ppm) of bromine and chlorine.” They also note that the company became a benchmark by gradually eliminating these components, in addition to establishing the 900 ppm limit as a standard in the electronics industry.
Beryllium is another attractive chemical compound for technology companies, since it has an important thermal stability and can be used in the manufacture of consumer devices to harden alloys where aluminum, copper or iron is present, but the IARC considers it a element toxic to human health if ingested.
Finally, mercury is another component known to a large part of the population, as its use was common in different useful instruments, such as thermometers. In the technological industry, they are used in small quantities in containers or in batteries, despite their high level of toxicity.
Regarding the environmental issue, Jackson stressed that Apple has made certain decisions, in order that by 2030 they have a zero climate impact on their entire business, which includes the supply chain and the life cycles of their products.
“This means that every Apple device, from material collection, component manufacturing, assembly, transportation, customer use, loading, to material recycling and recovery, will be completely carbon neutral,” he explained. the vice president of environmental affairs.