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Greenpeace found the iPhone's battery to be soldered to the wires attached to the circuit board, already a well known fact in tech circles.  (Source: Greenpeace)
Apple faces another big lawsuit

As if the two class action suits for "iBricking," iFires and a constant stream of negative publicity about its war against unlockers weren't bad enough for Cupertino-based Apple Inc., now the firm has to contend with a new shark, which has jumped in the water looking to take a bite out of the firm.

Apple's problems started with environmental protection advocate Greenpeace issuing a report (PDF) finding the iPhone not up to snuff with its standards of responsible technology.

The irony is that the iPhone showed no traces of cadmium or mercury, typical causes for violation.  While the iPhone appears to have met EU and U.S. environmental standards, it did not meet those of Greenpeace.  Greenpeace found trace amounts of lead and other carcinogenic compounds in the device. 

Lead is a carcinogen and can cause brain damage.  Despite a large amount of medical evidence, only one state, California, recognize lead based solders to be carcinogenic.

Greenpeace also was not happy with the glued and soldered battery which made disposal difficult to impossible.  They felt this would hurt recycling efforts for the phone's batteries.  Many supermarkets and communities across the U.S. have phone collection bins which they use to collect and recycle the materials in used phone batteries.

Also, the iPhone was found to contain bromine additives, which could be hazardous if burned or exposed to water. Its polyvinyl chloride PVC plastic contains large amounts of chlorine, which is thought to be possibly carcinogenic and harmful to health if ingested.  The PVC plastic used is banned for use in children's toys in Europe, but is widely used in the U.S.

Greenpeace's findings were based on experimental deconstruction and chemical testing at its laboratory facilities in Exeter, U.K.

"Apple is not making early progress toward its 2008 commitment to phase out all uses of these materials, even in entirely new product lines.  If Apple really wants to reinvent the phone, it needs to design out all hazardous substances and materials from its handsets and peripherals," said Greenpeace in a statement.

Following the announcement, Steve Jobs poked fun at the report, in a note on Apple's website stating:
"I hope you are as delighted as I was when I first learned how far along Apple actually is in removing toxic chemicals from its products and recycling its older products."

He might not be laughing anymore.  Apple's possible environmental hazards have resulted in a new lawsuit by an environmental and consumer protection group, the Center for Environmental Health (CEHCA).

The suit specifically points to the use phthalates, toxic chlorine compounds, in the PVC on the iPhone and iPod's earbuds.  The compound is banned for use in children's toys in San Fransisco and Europe.  These compounds are level 2 toxins with respect to reproduction.  They can damage and interference in the sexual development of mammals, which can manifest in a broad array of physiological problems.

The Greenpeace report acknowledges that, "Although it is unclear whether headphones from an iPod or iPhone could ever be classified as components of toys or childcare articles, it is clear that the presence of high levels of phthalates in such materials could contribute to overall levels of exposure to such chemicals for the user, including children."

The Center for Environmental Health executive director Michael Green is championing the suit and blasted Apple. "There is no reason to have these potentially hazardous chemicals in iPhones.  We expect Apple to reformulate their products to make them safer from cradle to grave, so they don't pose a threat to consumers, workers or the environment.  In general what we try to do is encourage the manufacturers through a negotiated settlement to reduce the use of these chemicals.  That would be our goal with Apple."

The CEHCA suit intends to force Apple to put toxic hazard warning labels on its iPods and iPhones.  California's Proposition 65 requires products that can expose customers to reproductive toxins or carcinogens to contain warning labels.  There are exemptions if federal law overrides the state's authority, or if the manufacturer can present conclusive evidence that lifetime exposure to the product is not harmful.

The CEHCA hopes the suit will not go to court, but it is not ruling out the possibility.  What it really hopes for is for Apple to agree to negotiate to eliminate or reduce the use of PVC in its iPod lines and in the iPhone.  The Center has given Apple 60 days of legal notice, as per California state laws

Apple has not yet released a statement on the CEHCA lawsuit, but has countered the Greenpeace report by insisting it meets the standards imposed by stringent U.S. and European environmental laws and is constantly trying to improve its environmental performance.

Ironically Apple has tried to paint itself to be an environmental leader, including a large amount of press coverage on its site about Al Gore's recent Nobel Peace Prize, also covered extensively here at DailyTech.

Regardless of the outcome, which may be months away, the report and the ensuing suit mark more bad publicity for the new iPod lines and the iPhone.

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Lead !
By retrospooty on 10/16/2007 9:15:50 AM , Rating: 5
Its hard to believe they are using lead in thier electronics in this day and age. Even Palm, as broke and behind the rest of the industry as they are have phased out lead and are ROHS compliant with thier current products.

RE: Lead !
By glitchc on 10/16/07, Rating: -1
RE: Lead !
By retrospooty on 10/16/2007 10:30:24 AM , Rating: 4
Yes, you are correct, and eliminating lead solder is (at least one of) the ROHS compliant specs. Most electronics are going that route these days as a requirement. It is more expensive and more difficult to work with, as higher temps are needed to melt the ROHS compliant (lead free) solder.

What is your point?

RE: Lead !
By masher2 on 10/16/2007 10:49:21 AM , Rating: 3
There's over 1,000X the amount of lead in your average car battery as there is in an iPhone, or any electronic gear made with lead solder. Yet even people who handle thousands of these batteries a day aren't coming down with lead poisoning. Doesn't that tell you something?

RE: Lead !
By Martimus on 10/16/2007 10:58:31 AM , Rating: 1
You aren't directly exposed to the lead in the car batery. You are when you are soldering the part. Even so, lead poisoning is usually a slow process that can take years to really sink in, and takes even longer to get rid of. The symptoms are minor at first, and include mental issues that you usually don't assosiate with a health problem.

RE: Lead !
By TomZ on 10/16/2007 11:08:58 AM , Rating: 2
So you're saying that consumers are not exposed to the lead in a battery, but the lead exposure that workers soldering electronic components is an issue. Can you spot the flaw in your reasoning? How about the workers who are involved in the manufacture of batteries, or their suppliers?

In any case, the risk of lead poisoning is pretty easy to manage in a workplace, much more so than with consumers.

RE: Lead !
By theapparition on 10/17/2007 11:20:45 AM , Rating: 4
I think everyone is missing the point. The point is not that users come into contact with the lead. After all, when was the last time you opened your iPod and licked the circuit board???
The point is in disposal. The lead-acid battery has a much higher potential to be disposed of properly than a computer, MP3 player, or handheld video game. The concern is that the toxic chemicals will leach out and get back into our enviroment.

RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) is a European directive that is being generally accepted by the electronics community. You can't bring anything into the country that isn't RoHS compliant. Lead is on the list and the biggest issue for electronics because of soldering. The new solder alloys (SAC's) require higher temperatures. This screws many thing up because machines have to run at higher temperatures (rendering you old hardware lines obsolete). Many components don't handle the new temperatures (ex. some plastic connectors melt) Inspection procedures are completely different. It was a huge job by the industry. There have been issues, but all-in-all it has been smooth transition.

I'm not a fan of apple, by any means, but they are getting to some degree that which Microsoft has been getting for the last two decades. Attention. With attention comes scrutiny. If they opened up a creative player, they'd probably find the same things. What I find even more amusing is the RoHS has a specific exemption for tin-lead HASL PCB boards until 2011(?). So most fab'd boards still have lead based solder plating.

If they wanted to do anything constructive, sue apple for it's blatantly false advertising.

RE: Lead !
By masher2 on 10/17/2007 12:01:39 PM , Rating: 4
> "The concern is that the toxic chemicals will leach out and get back into our enviroment"

You mean...a few of the millions of pounds of lead we pull out the ground each year might wind up back where we got it? Shocking, I agree.

> "It was a huge job by the industry. There have been issues, but all-in-all it has been smooth transition."

Its a transition that is still ongoing and will continue to do so for years. And already we're seeing reports of less reliable electronics as a result of lead-free solder.

And so once again, we see an "environmental" initiative that is probably going to do more environmental harm than good. Whats the cost in resources and energy to rebuild all the tens of millions of failed computers, mp3 players, cell phones, consoles, and cameras that break down early because of lead-free solder in their construction?

RE: Lead !
By Adonlude on 10/17/2007 4:48:06 PM , Rating: 3
If anyone wants to know why taking lead out of solder is bad please research the keyword "tin whiskers".

RE: Lead !
By theapparition on 10/18/2007 8:36:48 AM , Rating: 2
You mean...a few of the millions of pounds of lead we pull out the ground each year might wind up back where we got it? Shocking, I agree.

I'm not going to debate the point, since I happen to agree. But playing devil's advocate, the concern is that toxic chemicals will be concentrated in an area like a landfill. And those chemicals will be leached into the groundwater and make their way into the local water supply, or harm local wildlife.

All while the human lifespan is increasing, and most enviroments are cleaner than ever. There are some exceptions, but we pollute far less now than we did 50 years ago.

Its a transition that is still ongoing and will continue to do so for years. And already we're seeing reports of less reliable electronics as a result of lead-free solder.

The transition is certainly still ongoing. But I think your somewhat overstating the future reliability of the lead-free solder process. Those reorts have been for very early adopters. As with any new process, there is a learning curve. Any company that just starts with the lead free process is going to spend some time perfecting the process. But all major manufacturer's have switched over and I doubt you'll see any real issues in the field.

Reports of solder joint failures for both can usually be traced to poorly cleaned parts. There have been studies that over prolonged HASL testing, the lead-free hold up better. Early failures were almost all the result of poor process. I'm not a big fan of SAC by any means, but it's here, it's not going anywhere, and if you want to sell something, you had better use it. No use whining about it.

Even if the lead-free solder lasted half as much as the tin-lead one, that's still far longer than most of those electronics usefull lives.

RE: Lead !
By Pythias on 10/18/2007 12:48:47 PM , Rating: 2
Still you have to admit that its rather funny that these "environmental champions" are accusing a company on whose board of directors sits another "environmental champion". One Al Gore.

Hilarity ensues.

RE: Lead !
By masher2 on 10/16/2007 11:10:12 AM , Rating: 2
> "You are when you are soldering the part"

Not in a modern plant you're not. Its done in a wave soldering machine, in a fully automated manner.

> "The symptoms are minor at first, and include mental issues that you usually don't assosiate with a health problem"

And not once have those symptoms been documented in relation to a consumer using electronics containing leaded solder.

RE: Lead !
By maxhodges on 10/16/2007 12:34:10 PM , Rating: 1
You don't know what you are talking about: 1) the wave solder machines are automated but if you've ever worked near one, they do emit fumes and vapors and also need to me maintained by people. At Compaq Computer Corporation, where I worked for 2 years in the board shop, they rotated the person who maintained the wave solder machine in order to limit his exposure and also gave them periodic blood tests. 2) people are handling all those boards that have been wave soldered; and 3) there is still LOTS of manual soldering being done the old fashioned way even in a modern facility. The wave machine isn't perfect and humans fix some of the boards and sometimes salvage high-dollar components from lost causes. Also technicians manually replace components when boards fail specific functional tests, due to a problem placing an SMT component or because of defective components.

RE: Lead !
By masher2 on 10/16/2007 12:52:05 PM , Rating: 2
> "You don't know what you are talking about...the wave solder machines emit fumes."

You missed the "modern" part. Modern wave soldering machines are available with fume extraction hoods, which keep exposure limits down to near-zero.

> "people are handling all those boards that have been wave soldered"

Did any of those people in your plant come down with lead poisoning? No, I didn't think so.

RE: Lead !
By DragonMaster0 on 10/16/2007 9:02:00 PM , Rating: 2
Lead is not a problem as long as you wash your hands not to eat it, or drink water that came in contact with it. Remember, there's not just lead used for soldering, there's flux, which causes toxic fumes, and other chemical products like this. Lead doesn't evaporate much or at all in the air, if it does, it's heavier than air and would go on the floor rather than your nose. A facility caring about their employees would provide them the required safety equipment to be safe. The problem is electronic waste, people just throw stuff in the trash can. Also, even if it was only 3 years ago, electronics recycling developed since the RoHS announced that you couldn't sell products with lead-based solder in the European Union. If people recycled electronics, there would be no need to make electronics that you can almost eat safely. Lead-free solder is not that great since it doesn't last. When you buy semiconductors now, they're sealed in air-tight packaging and have a shelf life (You can't solder them anymore after that date, there's too much oxidation on the pins)

Other problems like these will start showing up again:
I wonder if stuff manufactured without lead will still work in 15 years.

If leaded solder starts to have availability problems, tell me how you will repair electronics made with it? The new solder is not even compatible. (At least new components still work with the old solder)

RE: Lead !
By maverick85wd on 10/20/2007 2:31:27 PM , Rating: 2
additionally, military use of lead-free electronics is problematic... In the civilian sector there is a tolerance for electronics failing because they can just be replaced. With equipment being used in the field or calibrating/performance testing equipment that is used in the field such tolerances do not exist for obvious reasons. And anyone that thinks the military doesn't use electronic equipment for more than 15 or 20 years has obviously never served!

Not that military applications are being discussed here, just a point. If the military has to develop or have equipment custom-fabricated with lead-based solder it greatly increases the cost to the government.

RE: Lead !
By db2460 on 10/16/2007 12:57:26 PM , Rating: 3
Are you kidding me about wave soldering? Have you actually worked as a manufacturing technician on one? Or in a PCB manufacturing plant at all?

Wave soldering machine is one of the worst places to work in the manufacturing floor. The soldering process spits out all kinds of fumes and small solder balls splatter everywhere. Guess what happens everyday? People, yes people, not machines, have to go in there an clean it up. They have to wear all kind of personal protective equipment to do it. The back of the wave soldering machine is covered in a separate ventilation housing to minimize contamination the rest of of the factory with lead. Those people in there are cleaning up lead, residues from flux and fumes, and scooping out dross. You are telling me those people are not exposed to lead? You think businesses would voluntarily add all these protective equipment because there is no risk of lead exposure? Each year when OSHA do a safety inspection, they still find lead deposited on the ceiling above the wave soldering machine. How do you think it got there? Do you think that lead didn't go elsewhere?

Even then, people elsewhere have to deal with solder. It's all very nice that reflow and wave automate the process. Guess what, they aren't perfect. When defects happens, people have to go fix the defects with a soldering iron under a magnifying glass to fix them. Given that each mother board has many thousands of solder joints, even 1 part per million soldering defect is a lot of defects to fix manually in a high volume plant. You don't think they are exposed to lead?

RE: Lead !
By TomZ on 10/16/2007 1:51:02 PM , Rating: 2
You talk about the employee exposure to lead, and at the same time you describe the things the company goes through to avoid exposure. You seem to be contradicting yourself.

To be clear, soldering does involve hazardous substances (lead is not the worst of them!), however, with reasonable protection techniques, worker exposure to these substances is easily mitigated.

RE: Lead !
By kyleb2112 on 10/17/2007 2:23:07 AM , Rating: 2
Wave soldering is for older "through hole" boards where the leads of the parts pass through the board and are all soldered on one side. Look at any modern circuit board and you'll find parts on both sides too tiny to be put there by human hands because they are placed by "pick and place machines" and "chip shooters"--that's what we call them and we have 4 such machines in our family's assembly plant. The parts are placed on tiny pads of sticky solder paste which have been precisely silk screened onto the board. Then they they go through an oven which melts the solder and adheres the parts to the boards, and you repeat the process for the other side to double part density. That's almost certainly how the iphones are built save for wires extruding from the board and through-hole cable connectors which are likely hand soldered after baking.

Wave soldering is nowhere near as nasty a job as described above. I helped my dad assemble our first wave soldering machine in our garage in the mid 80s--melting down the solder bars is cool when you're 13. Yes we actually wave soldered in our converted garage for at least 5 years before moving the business into a business park. It's mostly a hot job and sticky from the flux (which also is pumped up in a wave). Fumes? You get more fumes hand soldering because you have to be closer to the board to inspect it. By far the worst part back then was cleaning the boards in Vapor Degreaser--a huge vat of nasty solvent called tri-chlor (yeah, three chlorofluorocarbons) which was thankfully replaced--and now legally mandated--by automated water cleaning systems. Wave solder machines are still common (we have 2), but nobody has to deal with trichlor anymore which was the worst part. I would much rather run a wave solder machine even with a vapor degreaser than have to assemble the boards--which is often still done by hand with "through hole" boards and leads to all kinds of back and eye strain.

RE: Lead !
By theapparition on 10/17/2007 11:33:05 AM , Rating: 2
Get with the times!

Wave soldering is hardly done anymore, only used for boards that are predominately through-hole parts. It is old technology and fading fast.
99% of high volume manufacturing uses surface mount technology, where the machines are almost completely automated. Solder paste is smeared on the board from a stencil. Automated machines place the components, it then runs through an oven to "reflow" the solder. It then can go through optical inspection. All in one machine line connected by conveyor belts.

And not once have those symptoms been documented in relation to a consumer using electronics containing leaded solder.

Very true, but that's not what the regulations are about. They are intended only to reduce the potential effects of enviromental contamination.

I'll keep my own opinions of RoHS to myself, but that's the way the industry is going.

RE: Lead !
By fic2 on 10/16/2007 12:34:05 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think it is the work process that is worrisome. It is the disposale process. For a car battery you trade it in when you get a new battery. The old one gets recycled. For a cell phone (or other electronics) people throw them away - heavy metals and all.

RE: Lead !
By masher2 on 10/16/2007 12:53:43 PM , Rating: 2
> "For a cell phone (or other electronics) people throw them away - heavy metals and all. "

So? They wind up in a landfill, where they lie atop of dirt and rock, which itself contains far more lead than those electronics ever will.

Where do you think that lead came from in the first place? It was dug out of the ground, after all.

RE: Lead !
By howtochooseausername on 10/16/2007 1:10:07 PM , Rating: 2
They wind up in a landfill, where they lie atop of dirt and rock

Landfills leak hazardous materials, either from rainwater runoff or through the into groundwater.
Although modern landfills try to remedy this, older landfills still have this problem.

The best solution is to separate hazardous materials before they end up in the landfill.

RE: Lead !
By TomZ on 10/16/2007 1:55:16 PM , Rating: 2
The best solution is to separate hazardous materials before they end up in the landfill.

If you define "best solution" to mean "most economically inefficient solution," then yes, you are right.

But I think it's smarter to really look at the situation before making such proclamations. I mean, really, is the lead contained in older discarded PCB assemblies in defective landfills really a public health threat? Remember, even "old" landfills have to meet today's standards, otherwise they could not operate.

Policymakers are (sometimes?) wise to consider real data before solving problems that really don't exist.

RE: Lead !
By Rugar on 10/16/2007 3:12:25 PM , Rating: 3
Policymakers are (sometimes?) wise to consider real data before solving problems that really don't exist.

I agree with the sentiment of your statement, but I differ in the implications. Politicians (other than the occasional idealist) aren't actually interested in the "real" problems that the data might or might not describe. Data (other than polling data of course) mean little to most politicians. They are more interested in the problem of "How many of the people who might actually come out and vote for me think this is a problem?" and guide their actions based on that instead.

RE: Lead !
By jajig on 10/16/2007 10:33:41 PM , Rating: 3
It's a biased source but here's some pics anyway

RE: Lead !
By afkrotch on 10/18/2007 10:08:46 PM , Rating: 2 with the highest population in the world with other country's waste. Seems they are doing fine with lead based crap.

RE: Lead !
By slunkius on 10/17/2007 12:57:22 AM , Rating: 2
wow, just wow. guess you would not mind to live near such landfill. after all, it is all the same - dirt, rock, pcb's, car batteries...

RE: Lead !
By mindless1 on 10/17/2007 1:15:32 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, I would not mind becaues of the lead, but I would because of the other factors like the stench, birds, garbage truck traffic and noise, and the other really problematic chemicals thrown away.

Lead is not the problem /some/ make it out to be, unless you have very high levels of physical contact, reasonably high levels of vapor contact (not casual soldering but rather constant automated process) or are eating/drinking it. As others noted, lead on a PCB came out of the ground and is going back into the ground. Further, use of lead based solder will tend to reduce electronics failure rates so the other compounds (as in an iPhone) will tend to end up in landfills at lower rates.

RE: Lead !
By Some1ne on 10/16/2007 3:42:08 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't that tell you something?

Only that while you're correct that lead is generally not as harmful as it's often made out to be, you're also biased in general towards supporting the iPhone/Apple, as (despite the "harmless" nature of lead) most major electronics manufacturers have gone lead-free, and there's no reason not to expect Apple to do the same (unless you're playing favorites). Allow me to balance the bias out a bit.

Hooray for the lawsuit! Anything that takes the iPhone (and thus Apple) down a notch is a good thing.

RE: Lead !
By TomZ on 10/16/2007 4:03:30 PM , Rating: 2
The iPhone is effectively lead-free, according to Greenpeace (read the PDF report linked in the article). They reported it had lead levels of 10-60ppm, far lower than the 1000ppm required by the EU RoHS standard to be considered "lead free."

RE: Lead !
By Martimus on 10/16/2007 9:31:59 AM , Rating: 2
leaded solder works so much better than non-leaded solder. I couldn't stand having to solder microcontroller pins using non-leaded solder. It is almost impossible to get all the pins down. On the other hand, I don't see a problem using non-leaded solder in something as large as batery terminals.

The part of the article that concerns me is the use of a hazardous material in the ear buds. That alone will keep me from geting an iPod.

RE: Lead !
By masher2 on 10/16/2007 10:08:38 AM , Rating: 1
Everything -- including all the millions of chemicals found naturally in your body -- is a "hazardous material" in a high enough dose.

If you ate several of these earbuds a day for several years, you possibly expect some health effects. Simply wearing them isn't going to cause any problems.

RE: Lead !
By Martimus on 10/16/2007 10:55:12 AM , Rating: 1
No offense, but your expert opinion isn't enough for me to make that decision. I will look into the material in question and find out what it does and how before I make the decision as to whether I can use it or not.

RE: Lead !
By TomZ on 10/16/07, Rating: 0
RE: Lead !
By maxhodges on 10/16/2007 12:37:09 PM , Rating: 1
Considering masher2's "expert" opinion on the safety of wave solder in 'modern plants', I wouldn't trust a word he says. Your reputation is shot here.

RE: Lead !
By Silver2k7 on 10/17/2007 9:06:27 PM , Rating: 2
everything is poisonous its just a matter of how much.. even water will kill you if you drink too much of it.

a coffe cup of salt will kill you.. 10 grams of caffeine is most likley fatal..

RE: Lead !
By Samus on 10/16/2007 12:25:41 PM , Rating: 2
I personally don't mind silver-bearing solder, but then again 90% of my soldering is modchip-based (novice-level soldering) but I could imagine it taking longer to implant a 32-pin IC on a PCB as opposed to lead-core or acid-core.

RE: Lead !
By JediJeb on 10/17/2007 5:43:31 PM , Rating: 3
Well as a chemist who test for these types of chemicals in everything from Drinking Water to Hazardous Waste I can tell you that you will get more phthalates in your body from drinking water from a plastic bottle then you ever will from wearing the earbuds or touching the case of the iPhone. Also the carpet in your house and the interior of your car contains more harmful chemicals than the iPhone and you will have more contact from those than the phone. If you won't buy the iPhone because of the earbuds then you better get rid of your carpet and your car.

RE: Lead !
By Moishe on 10/16/2007 9:50:18 AM , Rating: 2
"trace amounts"

Greenpeace will probably find trace amounts of all sorts of bad stuff in regular dirt if they look... Maybe they should sue mother earth?

Greenpeace is an extremist organization who, like PETA, pulls publicity stunts regularly. This looks like another one.

RE: Lead !
By Screwballl on 10/16/2007 10:18:01 AM , Rating: 2
agreed... many computer mouse cords have stickers saying "wash hands after touching this cord" or something similar.
The problem is that so much of this technology is made overseas in the orient where they do not have these restrictions. As long as it passes US standards they sell it... of course ask Mattel about this...

RE: Lead !
By maxhodges on 10/16/07, Rating: -1
RE: Lead !
By porkpie on 10/16/2007 12:58:32 PM , Rating: 2
Lol, and you try to prove that statement with a Greenpeace press release? I think its clear who the "idiot" is here.

RE: Lead !
By TomZ on 10/16/07, Rating: 0
RE: Lead !
By porkpie on 10/16/2007 10:16:43 AM , Rating: 1
The bigger question is why is anyone still listening to Greenpeace in this day and age? Haven't we learned from past history and all their other pseudo-scares?

RE: Lead !
By retrospooty on 10/16/2007 10:32:06 AM , Rating: 3
LOL... Ya, its like 2 arseholes get in a fight (Greenpeace and Apple), all you can hope for is that they both lose ;)

RE: Lead !
By Polynikes on 10/16/2007 12:41:18 PM , Rating: 2
They are both losing. Greenpeace just makes themselves look even more stupid and Apple's "green" image is further eroded.

RE: Lead !
By Oregonian2 on 10/16/2007 1:57:37 PM , Rating: 2
They are both losing. Greenpeace just makes themselves look even more stupid

That's pretty hard to do. They once were an honorable organization doing good work, but that was over with some time ago. They're now just another "corporation" doing business where their revenue is political power -- and just for power's sake, not to do anything good with it.

They're now attacking a RoHS compliant product for lead content. With all that could be done, what a waste of time. They should attack leaded (crystal) glassware that's up to 35% lead I understand and leaches lead into drinking water(/wine/etc). There's probably a zillion tons of it around, and AFAIK still made. A little harder to attack politically though.

P.S.- I want to see iPhones in the supermarket dumpster being complaining about -- I want to fish them out. Bloody iPhone doesn't have user replaceable batteries and it's too expensive to just dump and buy another one, even with an AT&T "discount". So if the battery is in supermarket dumpsters, theoretically the rest of the iPhone is in there with it.

RE: Lead !
By Bluestealth on 10/16/2007 8:35:53 PM , Rating: 2
While now the iPhone is expensive, in a few years it will be worth almost nothing. It will get tossed either into the garbage or recycled.
However I am not convinced that having a user serviceable battery increases customer awareness about proper disposal. In addition a lot of newer cellphones come with a pre-paid mail recycling bag. If customers can't be bothered to throw their whole cellphone in that, or take it to a recycling/disposal bin/center then they won't.
I think that a lot of locations also take the whole cellphone and not just the battery.
I believe Greenpeace is getting on a soapbox for nothing. Maybe they should go work on some "other" more important environmental issues.

RE: Lead !
By Oregonian2 on 10/17/2007 3:03:48 AM , Rating: 2
However I am not convinced that having a user serviceable battery increases customer awareness about proper disposal.

My point was rather in the opposite slant. The iPhone's battery NOT being serviceable keeps the customer from tossing the battery into the garbage -- even without any knowledge of recycling because otherwise they'd nominally be tossing the phone with it. Unlike other phone makers I can't see iPhones going for $39.95 in a few years. I just don't think Apple would go for that just for corporate image alone if anything. In any case, the iPhone pain-in-the-butt and spendy non-user-replaceable batteries is a plus for the environment. Most of the batteries will be removed by workers in China where their batteries will be "properly" disposed of. :-)

RE: Lead !
By db2460 on 10/16/2007 12:46:09 PM , Rating: 2
They found "trace" amounts of lead. They didn't find 37% lead. Any solder with trace amounts of lead is unlikely to actually be consider "leaded" solder. It's probably a lead free solder. Trace amounts of lead simply isn't going to make a difference, even in a lead-free solder alloy, to depress the melting temperature enough to make a significant difference. That said, it is very likely that trace amounts of lead is contamination in lead free solder. If you go looking for elements with AA spectroscopy, yeah sure, you will find trace amounts of all kinds of stuff. That doesn't mean the solder was a leaded solder. I seriously doubt anyone is willing to pay for an iphone made with lead free solders composed of 99.99999% purity elements used in a manufacturing site without possibility of any cross contamination or introduction of foreign materials. It's a pointless exercise to go looking for trace amounts of lead and raising a huge stink when there are bigger environmental hazards to protest about. If I root through the garbage or anything from anyone at Greenpeace and take it to a lab, I'll bet you I'll be able to call them all hypocrites for using something with toxic material in them too.

RE: Lead !
By The0ne on 10/16/2007 1:55:36 PM , Rating: 3
There are a lot of information here about processes that are mostly correct. I audit Manufacturers as part of our business. Many companies, even those that are claiming to be 100% RoHS compliant are not. This claim can be base on one product and hence they can state it. GE for example is not RoHS compliant on many of their products, and this applies to their subsidiaries as well. There is a shift to be RoHS compliant but it's not fast and not many companies are willing to switch yet.

In terms of the wave machines, there are still some manned machines out there that don't have the safty precautions to help with the workers. This, unfortunately, is mainly due to the high cost of replacing such a system in a manufacturing environment. It sucks but the company will not fork out thousands of dollars to have a few employees healthier. This applies to other areas such as ergonomics as well.

This article seems like a lame excuse to attack Apple as there are companies and products out there that have many more and much more harmful compounds. If they can do this to Apple with what they've found, how come they aren't going for companies that are not RoHS compliant yet and or are producing products like batteries. I think it's just a cheap shot.

Does ANY cell phone meet GP's standards?
By jskirwin on 10/16/2007 9:16:05 AM , Rating: 3
I am no fan of Apple or the iPhone. However does any phone meet Greenpeace's standards?

I often get the impression from this group that they won't be happy until we are living in huts with lifespans under 30.

By retrospooty on 10/16/2007 9:21:36 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, most phones made over the last few years are at least ROHS (restriction of hazardous substance) compliant, it is a standard most modern electronics are made to = meaning they no longer use lead. As for the rest of GP's req's I am not sure.

RE: Does ANY cell phone meet GP's standards?
By marvdmartian on 10/16/2007 9:29:07 AM , Rating: 4
Yes, but the phones must be carved from pieces of wood, with the keys produced from pieces of bone, and they must be solar powered. Of course, being Greenpeace, the wood must be harvested from dead tree branches that have already fallen off the trees, and the bones from animals that died a natural death.

Wait......isn't Greenpeace the same idiots that harass whaling vessels and oil platforms with diesel burning ships?? Seems it's okay for them to use fuel, just not anyone else, eh?

RE: Does ANY cell phone meet GP's standards?
By masher2 on 10/16/2007 10:20:42 AM , Rating: 3
> "but the phones must be carved from pieces of wood, with the keys produced from pieces of bone"

Of course wood and bone have large amounts of hazardous substances in them as well. If Greenpeace tested those 'natural' materials by the same process they subjected this phone to, they'd find them just as toxic.

RE: Does ANY cell phone meet GP's standards?
By Martimus on 10/16/07, Rating: 0
By TomZ on 10/16/2007 11:12:04 AM , Rating: 3
Yes, because everything "biologic" is not hazardous, right?

In reality, our bodies contain lots of substances that, at higher concentrations, would kill us.

RE: Does ANY cell phone meet GP's standards?
By masher2 on 10/16/2007 11:21:26 AM , Rating: 2
> "Since they are biologic, it is doubtful that either would be hazardous"

How many "biologic" plants contain poisons? Wood contains volatile organic compounds and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, many of which are carcinogenic and cause other health effects. Some woods (black cherry, for instance) contain cyanide. English Yew contains taxine, a very deadly poison. Sassafras wood contains a liver toxin known as safrole.

Natural bone contains radioactive potassium, and very often concentrated amounts of mercury, strontium, and lead from dietary sources.

RE: Does ANY cell phone meet GP's standards?
By JasonMick on 10/16/2007 11:57:43 AM , Rating: 3
Okay I have to inject myself into this debate, because your biology and biochemistry is a little misleading here.

Wood contains volatile organic compounds and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

A lot of what you are talking about are plant steroids, the most prevalent polycyclic compounds in many plants. Most plant steroids are harmless unless consumed in concentrations much higher than those found in a normal diet.

Otherwise, you are talking about poisonous polycyclic compounds such as cocain or caffeine, most of which are not significantly carcinogenic in small doses. Other health effects--yes. But I think most people know that chewing a coca leaf can cause health effects.

Now you are valid that some woods are uniquely poisonous. This (along with the high celluose content) is one reason why humans and other mammals do not generally eat wood. To my knowledge no mammal eats wood as part of their natural diet (deer occasionally eat young wood if they are starving).

Natural bone contains radioactive potassium

This is very misleading. Bones in the human body contain insignificant trace amounts of radioactive potassium <0.02% of the total potassium. This would be like infer that a salad was radioactive because it had C-14. Anyways if you were going to be alarmist, I would think that you would point to radioactive Cesium which typically accumulates in the bones due to dietary sources.

As to mercury if you do not eat lake fish, your mercury levels should be relatively low. As to radioactive strontium it is ingested in your diet, can cause cancer, etc. true. This occurs at a higher rate when homes are remodelled due to the chemicals used, and was responsible for the 50s "Strontium Scare".

Stable strontium though can decrease your risk of osteoperosis.,5736.html

Strontium gluconate (a stable strontium compound) can remineralize bones in cancer patients and lead to dramatic improvement--a very good thing.

Anyways, I don't know what exactly you are getting at by spouting off random natural chemicals and chemical deposits in human anatomy, but it seems purely alarmist.

While Greenpeace might have gotten carried away, there is a good reason why lead paint and plastics are regulated in childrens toys.

Children are much more sensitive to lead than adults and even seemingly insignificant amounts can lead to cognitive damage.

A wide array of clinical studies have shown this, conclusively.

As to mercury, likewise it is smart to regulate its ingestion. Mercury accumulation in the body due to eating lake fish has led to a number of poisoning cases, and when you consider that most mild cases likely go undiagnosed the numbers rise dramatically.

The point is Greenpeace is silly, but your statements seem equally silly.

There are definitely things that the human body is not meant to ingest, particularly the more vulnerable developing body of children.

Be careful what you state.

RE: Does ANY cell phone meet GP's standards?
By TomZ on 10/16/2007 12:15:45 PM , Rating: 2
The point is to respond to the OP's view that all chemicals found in plants and animals is somehow nontoxic, which is false. And you obviously agree with Michael on this point.

RE: Does ANY cell phone meet GP's standards?
By Martimus on 10/16/2007 4:50:55 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't say that all chemicals were nontoxic. But the thought of an animal being inherently toxic - unless it is a defense mechanism - is purely asinine. If they were toxic, they wouldn't have lived in the first place. Of course many organisms are poisonous so that they wouldn't be eaten, but to compare chemicals used in a manufacturing process to chemicals found in a living organism is like comparing apples to oranges. They aren't remotely the same or in the same concentrations.

By masher2 on 10/16/2007 5:13:25 PM , Rating: 2
> "But the thought of an animal being inherently toxic - unless it is a defense mechanism - is purely asinine"

But that's just the point. Many plants and animals are inherently toxic. Chemical defense mechanisms are prevalent in nature. Nearly all plants -- even the ones we eat on a daily basis -- generate chemicals designed to ward off pests or predators.

> to compare chemicals used in a manufacturing process to chemicals found in a living organism is like comparing apples to oranges"

This is a common misconception, and quite flawed. There is no general difference between the two. In fact, largescale testing reveals that roughly half of all chemicals-- be they natural or synthetic-- are carcinogenic in a high enough dose.

The only real difference is simply how much attention manmade chemicals receive. They're extensively studied and tested, with the result we tend to know their effects much better. Most "natural" chemicals are complete unknowns. For instance, there are over 1,000 chemicals in a cup of coffee, most of which have never been tested for long-term health effects.

RE: Does ANY cell phone meet GP's standards?
By mindless1 on 10/17/2007 1:26:59 AM , Rating: 2
The issue is of relativity. No, animals aren't inherantly biologically toxic by themselves, to any large extent that would effect our exposure to (most of) them, but neither are these compounds being whined about.

Do you accept that toxic substances can accumulate in liver, bones, etc? This much is fact. If you extract those and say "oh look there's a trace amount of XYZ that can effect someone in some bizarre scenario", then you are approaching the reality of the substances in iPhone and other devices that are deemed unfriendly.

The main difference is, Greenpeace et al can't whine and make animals change their habitat nor feeding habits, but they feel they can with Apple and others. In some cases it may be a good cause but these days, alarmists and politically correct verbage has gone quite overboard in many cases.

Oh by the way, you have toxic substances in you, too. We can't bury you when you die, it'll end up in the ground. Can't reasonably cremate, that'll make fumes. Tell us what are we supposed to do with you when your time is up? If you want us to extract everything and separately store it, cough up the few hundred thousands of dollars or more for the processes and storage costs it'll take to do this.

RE: Does ANY cell phone meet GP's standards?
By Martimus on 10/17/2007 10:55:08 AM , Rating: 2
Wow. I will probably be buried. I couldn't care less about the toxins in my body or on the casket that might make it into the water supply or what not. I care about the carcinogen in the ear buds. I was considering buying an iPod for when I work out, but I don’t want something that I am sticking in my ear cause major health problems. That was my only concern, and Mike jumped on me for being concerned, as if my concerns over my own health caused him a great wrong. I’m sorry that I don’t have all day to research everything I use on a daily basis to know how it reacts with my body, but when I read about something questionable that I might consider using, I get a little concerned. Is that really so hard to understand?

By masher2 on 10/17/2007 11:56:52 AM , Rating: 2
"I don’t have all day to research everything I use on a daily basis to know how it reacts with my body, but when I read about something questionable that I might consider using, I get a little concerned.
The problem lies far more with Greenpeace than you. They realize that most people don't have time to research these matters themselves, so when they issue one of these scare-tactic stories, they know at least some will fall for it.

Sometimes it only results in some extra dollars into the Greenpeace donation coffers. But often it results in real economic or environmental harm...which is why its important to counter these assertions as soon as they're made.

RE: Does ANY cell phone meet GP's standards?
By masher2 on 10/16/2007 12:37:21 PM , Rating: 2
> "Most plant steroids are harmless unless consumed in concentrations much higher than those found in a normal diet"

And the lead-bearing solder in electronics is harmless, unless consumed in large doses as well. That's exactly the point I was making.

> "But I think most people know that chewing a coca leaf can cause health effects"

Apparently the OP did not, as he stated that "biologic" sources were obviously harmless.

> "Bones in the human body contain insignificant trace amounts of radioactive potassium"

But the amount of radioactive potassium in the body is much larger than most Europeans were exposed to from Chernobyl. That didn't stop Greenpeace and other organizations from making misleading claims, now did it?

> "there is a good reason why lead paint and plastics are regulated in childrens toys."

But we're not talking about toys that a small child might ingest. We're talking about trace amounts of lead, sealed inside expensive electronics gear. That's a far different matter.

Yes, these toxic elements and compounds found naturally in the human body aren't dangerous....because the dose is too small. Just as the amount of lead one would absorb from lead-based solders is far too small to pose a hazard for consumers.

The dose determines the poison. And that was my original point.

RE: Does ANY cell phone meet GP's standards?
By mars777 on 10/16/2007 1:35:23 PM , Rating: 2
The dose determines the poison. And that was my original point.

Never said something more true.

Then again this is what Greenpeace is doing... they're trying to diminish the dose by forcing Apple to make a ROHS phone :)

It really doesn't matter if you get or don't lead poisoning. I think they're trying to diminish the dose of lead in underground lakes which are the source of our water, and the place where these batteries will leak.

RE: Does ANY cell phone meet GP's standards?
By masher2 on 10/16/2007 1:40:37 PM , Rating: 2
> "they're trying to diminish the dose by forcing Apple to make a ROHS phone :)"

The phone is already ROHS-compliant.

> "I think they're trying to diminish the dose of lead in underground lakes which are the source of our water"

You mean, the underground lakes surrounded by millions of tons of lead-bearing rock? Where do you think the lead we mine comes from in the first place? Lead is hardly a rare element in nature.

RE: Does ANY cell phone meet GP's standards?
By Don Tonino on 10/16/2007 7:06:15 PM , Rating: 2
You mean, the underground lakes surrounded by millions of tons of lead-bearing rock? Where do you think the lead we mine comes from in the first place? Lead is hardly a rare element in nature.

Just expanding on the point, lead is not usually found in native form but it is quite commonly found in mineral forms like galena - quite different from solder alloys.

Effects of any substance will depend on both form and concentration, so is at least conceivable that the same element, i.e lead, could have different effects depending on either the form it is encountered (mineral like the above mentioned galena compared to the alloys used in soldering) and its concentration (normally no more than 10% in minerals compared around 37-40% in solder alloys).

I wonder also what difference in concentration, if any, would arise from diffusion in water of lead from a mineral deposit and from leakage from a landfill - I think it would be better to frame the question comparing the respective concentrations that would result and not just the total mass of lead being in the soil or rocks.

Also, from saying that quantity A has no measured effect it doesn't automatically follow that quantity A+x will still have no measurable effect - it only needs x to be enough to reach the effective dose. So I think in principle the claim that lead leakage could have an effect can't be refuted just by answering that there is already so much lead around - it could theoretically be that the concentration due to the originally deposit is below the effective dose, and that the added leaked lead would take the concentration over the effective dose. Of course, as far as I know it could very possibly be the other way round, with a concentration still well below the effective dose.

By all this, I do not mean to draw any conclusion on the rightness or wrongfulness of masher2's point - I just think that the logical approach to such a point could use some tightening up until we could judge some hard data.

By masher2 on 10/16/2007 8:36:58 PM , Rating: 2
> "and its concentration (normally no more than 10% in minerals compared around 37-40% in solder alloys)"

Galena crystals are often found in certain places...these are essentially 90% pure lead. There's one small 30-mile stretch of land in Missouri in which some 300,000 tons of lead are mined each year. Year after year. This is high-quality ore, that averages about 15% lead. Some deposits are higher, of course. And the water supply for the entire area flows over this ore, across all 30+ miles of that lead-bearing ore.

Now, do you really believe that water flowing a few hundred feet over a landfill containing at most a few pounds of lead in consumer electronics is really going to make a difference one could even measure, much less pose a threat?

The total quantity most certainly does matter. Look at it another way. Water flowing over lead will take many centuries to leech it out. How many trillions upon trillions of gallons of water will therefore flow over that tiny quantity of lead? Even ignoring natural lead sources, whats the expected level of concentration one would expect from that? One part per quadrillion, if that? In any case, a level many millions of times below what's dangerous.

RE: Does ANY cell phone meet GP's standards?
By TomZ on 10/16/2007 2:06:53 PM , Rating: 2
I think they're trying to diminish the dose of lead in underground lakes which are the source of our water

And don't forget that, until recently, lead was used in a lot of the plumbing that brings that water into our homes. Do you think all those lead pipes, joints, and fittings have been replaced? I don't think so.

RE: Does ANY cell phone meet GP's standards?
By jajig on 10/16/2007 10:59:18 PM , Rating: 2
Didn't lead pipes for water poison wealthy people in ancient Rome. At least that's what I remember from my history classes.

By masher2 on 10/16/2007 11:51:12 PM , Rating: 3
That was an early theory. Now, it seems the dose from lead pipes was very small; a much larger quantity seems to have been from a lead-bearing syrup that was added directly to wine to sweeten it.

RE: Does ANY cell phone meet GP's standards?
By Suomynona on 10/16/2007 9:34:11 AM , Rating: 3
Greenpeace just likes to attack whatever product is the most popular so they get more headlines. People need to just start ignoring their press releases. They're the world's biggest attention whores.

RE: Does ANY cell phone meet GP's standards?
By maxhodges on 10/16/07, Rating: 0
By masher2 on 10/16/2007 12:57:32 PM , Rating: 5
> "Do you really think Greenpeace's reports and actoin aren't very directly responsible for significant environmental improvements in this industry?"

In the 60s and early 70s, sure. Today, they're largely responsible for scare-tactic stories useful for their own fundraising efforts, but incredibly damaging to both the environment and the economy.

For just one example, Greenpeace has done more than any other group to ensure the continuing existence of coal-fired power plants, themselves the world's largest source of hazardous, health-damaging pollutants.

RE: Does ANY cell phone meet GP's standards?
By FITCamaro on 10/16/2007 9:52:27 AM , Rating: 2
I'm with you. No love for the iPhone but even less for Greenpeace. To me they're just short of a terrorist organization. They've hijacked ships before because they didn't like what was on it.

I say we put them all on an island in the South Pacific and leave them there with basic tools to fend for themselves but also a satellite phone in case of major emergency. See how long it takes before they start to call asking to go home.

RE: Does ANY cell phone meet GP's standards?
By TomZ on 10/16/2007 10:13:44 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with you, except forget the satellite phone. After all, it might have some kind of toxic substance in it. :o)

By rcc on 10/16/2007 1:46:45 PM , Rating: 3
how about a sheet of recycled paper and an eco friendly bottle?

RE: Does ANY cell phone meet GP's standards?
By maxhodges on 10/16/07, Rating: 0
By jskirwin on 10/16/2007 1:54:55 PM , Rating: 2
All you do is flame others without offering any arguments.

One would hope that after 20+ years of the WWW/internet/usenet/online collaboration people would offer more than ad hominems, more than childish flames.

But put-downs and insults are much easier than putting together counterarguments for the intellectually lazy.

By DeepBlue1975 on 10/16/2007 9:33:05 AM , Rating: 2
It seems the green fanatics have a valid point this time.

Lead in electronics, and very hard to dispose off batteries are really silly manufacturing practices by now, even though they might be officially approved.

RE: .
By masher2 on 10/16/2007 10:10:19 AM , Rating: 2
> "Lead in electronics...are really silly manufacturing practices by now"

Why? Because Greenpeace says so? Where do you think that lead came from in the first place? From lead-bearing ore found naturally in the ground....countless trillions of tons of it, which all our fresh water flows over naturally every day.

RE: .
By retrospooty on 10/16/2007 10:33:48 AM , Rating: 2
No, its pretty much an international standard to eliminate lead. Its called ROHS compliant and almost all phones and most electronics from major manufactureres are now ROHS

RE: .
By retrospooty on 10/16/2007 10:37:18 AM , Rating: 2
And by the way, just because it is naturally occuring, does not mean it is healthy. If you disagree with that, go eat an oleander, and mushroom omelette. ;)

Lead is seriously nasty, although I will gove you that in the case of electronics, its far more unhealthy for the people in the building doing the soldering than it is for the consumers.

RE: .
By TomZ on 10/16/2007 10:41:34 AM , Rating: 2
The hazards due to lead soldering are also very easy to prevent, e.g., fume hoods, hand washing, etc.

Also, I haven't seen any studies that show hazards from lead in electronics affecting anybody or even the environment. Makes me question the justification behind RoHS in the first place. Seems like a waste of money from what I can tell.

RE: .
By masher2 on 10/16/2007 10:41:43 AM , Rating: 2
ROHS is an EU standard; not a global one. There is no evidence that lead solder is harmful for consumers. As for manufacturing personnel, modern wave soldering machines are capable of trapping and disposing of lead fumes.

RE: .
By retrospooty on 10/16/2007 10:50:43 AM , Rating: 2
You bring up a good point, if the iPhone is using lead and thus not ROHS compliant, how is it being sold in Europe? As of last year, NO phone can be distributed in the EU countries that has lead. I remember Palm had to stop selling older model phones in Europe that were not ROHS.

Something here isn't right.

RE: .
By TomZ on 10/16/2007 11:01:32 AM , Rating: 3
What's wrong is your understanding of the situation. The "R" in RoHS means "reduce," not eliminate. Therefore, trace lead is still permitted. In addition, if you click through to the Greenpeace report, you will see they state the following:

All components tested appear to be compliant with the requirements of the EU RoHS Directive, to the extent that 1) no cadmium or mercury were detected, 2) lead and chromium were detected in a small proportion of samples and at relatively low concentrations and 3) there was no evidence for the presence of the most toxic and regulated form of chromium (chromium (VI)) in a range of other tal-plated components tested.

RE: .
By retrospooty on 10/16/2007 11:20:37 AM , Rating: 2
ahh... I see. Thanks for the info.

So I have to assume that the iPhone is ROHS, since it is being sold in EU, therefore all but trace elements of lead is eliminated. If that is the case, this sounds alot like Greenpeace being douchbags.

RE: .
By Aarnando on 10/16/2007 11:28:00 AM , Rating: 2
The RoHS limits the use of lead and several other "hazardous" substances to very small concentrations within a product. It doesn't prohibit the use of lead altogether.

RE: .
By The0ne on 10/16/2007 8:29:05 PM , Rating: 2
Yes but I believe most company, much like ours, want to be 100% lead free when we talk about going RoHS compliant. This is a reduction but the elimination of lead completely from the product. At this point we're are still mix because of a few components which are not RoHS compliant yet. One in particular is our BGA IC /sigh.

I'm pretty sure if you check Motherboard mfg's like Gigabyte you will see they used 100% lead-free components. I'm pretty sure, not exactly sure :)

RE: .
By mindless1 on 10/17/2007 1:37:33 AM , Rating: 2
Actually most companies DON'T want to be 100% lead free because it makes manufacturing more difficult, expensive, and causes higher product failure.

Lead in solder = good solder. That's why it was used and still no other formulation does as well in most aspects.

They want superior product, and that a product is lead-free is only because of RoHS directives, not "want".

RE: .
By The0ne on 10/17/2007 1:21:36 PM , Rating: 2
As I've said earlier in my post in response to a comment about many companies going RoHS compliant...not many companies are and those that do have one or two products that are simple and can qualify them to label the company as is. Having said that however, those companies that do want to be 100% RoHS and 100% lead-free are taking the risk and challenges to make it happen. For one, it's good as a marketing tool if you're not going for 'green'. And although it is harder it's not that much harder to be RoHS compliant (use RoHS compliant parts).

Your statement of "difficult, expensive, higher failure rate" is subjective. Our products suffer more from workmanship issues than anything related to solder.

RE: .
By Aarnando on 10/17/2007 8:40:42 AM , Rating: 2
My original point was that the poster I was responding to was mistaken in assuming the presence of trace amounts of lead meant the iPhone wasn't RoHS compliant. I'm not advocating keeping lead in products, but I'm not terrified by the presence of lead either. If your theory is correct, and most companies want to be 100% lead free, then great. It won't affect which prodcuts I purchase, so it isn't something I concern myself with.

RE: .
By DeepBlue1975 on 10/16/2007 11:19:16 AM , Rating: 2
No, because if it can be avoided (specially the glued battery issue), why not do it?

We could stop using leaded fuel, why can't phone makers stop using it?
You say it's naturally found... Hurricanes and earthquakes are also natural phenomena and not just because of that you will find them desirable.

I understand and respect your position, though. You say that if it's not proven that lead is such a harmful thing to be used in electronics, then we keep using it till proof is found.

From the opposite side, I just say that if it is suspicious, then the massive use of it should be stopped, and meanwhile test it out as much as possible in a controlled testing environment.
If tests are negative, then massive use can be resumed.
If tests show it to be really carcinogen, we already have stopped and prevented a few people from getting sick because of that.

I think this is just a matter of posture rather than a technical discussion, as, like you said, full proof of the carcinogen effects of lead in electronics has not been attained as of yet.
This time, I happen to agree with GreenGrease's posture (most of the time I don't), though not so much with the apparent money-grabbing-from-a-rich-company kind of move.

RE: .
By masher2 on 10/16/2007 11:32:57 AM , Rating: 3
> "I just say that if it is suspicious, then the massive use of it should be stopped"

But that's just the point-- its *not* suspicious. Lead-based solder has been widely used in electronics for decades, without one single recorded case of ill effects. There's also no reason to suspect lead solder as dangerous unless consumed...the amounts are small, far smaller than those a person is likely to come into contact with naturally.

The "guilty until proven innocent" approach has other problems as well. What is lead being replaced with? Many lead-free solders contain indium, antimony, silver, and other metals...some of which are either directly poisonous or carcinogenic, or have compounds which are.

But the bigger problem is that, when you incur substantial expense and economic loss to fight unproven problems, you lose money and time which can be spent on real, proven ones. What makes more spend tens of billions of dollars to eliminate lead solder (and replacing it with products that work less well, and may be more dangerous), or to spend that money on developing a cure for cancer, AIDS, or heart failure?

RE: .
By TomZ on 10/16/2007 12:19:02 PM , Rating: 2
Good points, I agree. In addition, you have to consider that there is a growing body of evidence that lead-free solder is contributing to reliability problems in today's electronic assemblies. It is probably not far off to say that, due to RoHS, today's electronics are slightly more costly and slighly lower quality. All this to fix a problem that doesn't seem to really exist. Buy hey, we should do all things green, regardless of the costs and tradeoffs, right?

RE: .
By Ringold on 10/16/2007 12:44:08 PM , Rating: 2
Buy hey, we should do all things green, regardless of the costs and tradeoffs, right?

No one else has brought this up yet in regards to lead in solder, and electronics in general, and perhaps I'm stretching here, but..

I see the ultimate outcome in making solder, and any 'hazardous' material, hard to use or to acquire by the average man as being similar to what has happened with chemistry. Where have all the chemical engineering students gone?

We eliminated everything about chemistry sets that made it "cool" and interesting to children and we're suprised that when kids get older and all they see in chemistry (and engineering) is boring math that they go to liberal arts programs instead?

I never got in to it myself but I've got several friends who spent large chunks of their teens playing with solder irons, making simple robots, electronic signs, various nefarious gadgets.. and they've gone on, surprise surprise, to engineering programs.

Safety is a valid concern, no doubt about it, but this to me is another example of the public shedding personal responsibility and freedom for safety. Didn't somebody once say such people deserve no such safety? Anyway, these types of restrictions clearly can cause significant long term societal changes. What do children learn anyway if we shield them from all risk, and as for adults.. what, we're given the ability to drink alcohol while having access to vehicles, but we aren't responsible enough to make a choice about what materials we play with?

RE: .
By DeepBlue1975 on 10/16/2007 1:32:21 PM , Rating: 2
It's known that lead is harmful if inhaled or swallowed.
About the carcinogen effects, test results are completely inconclusive...

I don't know about the probability of inhaling plumb from a hidden solder, but many bored children could grab an iPhone and suck it as if it were an ice cream (supposing the paint it uses contains lead).

If it's the paint that contains lead, I keep my original posture, even though what you said about alternative materials potentially used is true.
If just the solders are using lead, I guess I'll have to ditch my point in favour of yours, as I can't imagine how could a lead solder generate lead based vapours which could get out of the phone and be inhaled.

RE: .
By The0ne on 10/16/2007 8:32:50 PM , Rating: 2
The answer is to spend millions of dollars on what the consumer feels right to them. If seeing RoHS compliant makes them buy more products then it's a sound decision. This happens all the time with marketing. Sucks but that's how some businesses are.

On the other side, you can place as many warning signs and labels you want on a product but the consumer or user isn't going to care one way or another. You can spend millions of dollars to help the consumer but achieve nothing :)

RE: .
By mindless1 on 10/17/2007 1:41:35 AM , Rating: 2
Most customers don't buy based on leaded or lead free. I for one am an exception, I always prefer the leaded product because it's superior. Lead wasn't used for kicks, it is the appropriate material.

RE: .
By fic2 on 10/16/2007 12:40:13 PM , Rating: 2
No, because if it can be avoided (specially the glued battery issue), why not do it?

But if the battery wasn't glued in how could they charge $100 to change it?

RE: .
By DeepBlue1975 on 10/16/2007 2:21:49 PM , Rating: 2
Great point.

But on the other hand, I know about a few people who would still use a broken iPhone pretending it works just to show it off. These I'm talking about, wouldn't know how to use it if it worked fine, either, so for them the not replaceable battery is surely not something to worry about.

Working or not, it still looks great and fashionable, right? :D

(Just a joke, and I'm not meaning every apple fan would behave that well... but, seriously, I personally KNOW about people being THAT superficial or even more)

RE: .
By rcc on 10/17/2007 1:45:59 PM , Rating: 2
The same group that buys smartphones of all types, and uses it just as a phone?

Yeah, we know them.

RE: .
By maxhodges on 10/16/07, Rating: -1
RE: .
By maxhodges on 10/16/07, Rating: -1
No Matter How Hungry You Are........
By Vanilla Thunder on 10/16/2007 9:56:02 AM , Rating: 3
Its polyvinyl chloride PVC plastic contains large amounts of chlorine, which is thought to be possibly carcinogenic and harmful to health if ingested.

Don't eat your iPhone.


RE: No Matter How Hungry You Are........
By FITCamaro on 10/16/2007 12:51:15 PM , Rating: 2
You're counting on people being intelligent far to much. Don't you sit with your phone in your mouth sucking on it?

By noirsoft on 10/16/2007 1:38:39 PM , Rating: 4
Given the average apple fanboy, I wouldn't be surprised to learn of one fellating an iPhone.

By Vanilla Thunder on 10/16/2007 2:48:48 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah. My W810i is planted in my mouth right now. Good thing it's a Sony Ericsson, and not an iPhone. </sarcasm>


By Omega215D on 10/17/2007 1:05:05 AM , Rating: 2
The words are right there: thought to be possibly carcinogenic.

No hard facts means no grounds for complaints. Besides I see porn stars eat PVC all the time and they're fine (save for missing teeth) ;)

By Misty Dingos on 10/16/2007 10:37:23 AM , Rating: 2
Just wondering how much money is flowing from the Bill Gates Foundation to Green Peace?

RE: Wondering...
By TomZ on 10/16/2007 10:44:51 AM , Rating: 2
I did a little research, and I couldn't find any association between the Gates Foundation and Greenpeace.

RE: Wondering...
By Master Kenobi on 10/16/2007 1:04:00 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely none, Gates doesn't like Greenpeace. I don't blame him.

RE: Wondering...
By Omega215D on 10/17/2007 1:07:57 AM , Rating: 2
Gates paid them to ruin Apple's image in 100% recycled money and 100% untraceable...

lame, I know... I'll do better next time.

By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 10/16/2007 11:01:25 AM , Rating: 3
Apple's problems started with environmental protection agency Greenpeace issuing a report (PDF)...

There is an EPA, but GreenPeace is not it. As long as these components comply with federal regulations, GP can stamp its little foot all it wants, but there will be no remedy at law.

By iFX on 10/16/2007 3:42:51 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, the EPA is not Greenpeace.

That could have been worded better, for instance: Apple's problems started when Greenpeace, an enviromental protection advocy group, released a report...

By KristopherKubicki on 10/16/2007 6:12:46 PM , Rating: 2
Yep good call -- fixed.

Greenpeace=hypocritical eco terrroist organization.
By ChipDude on 10/16/2007 12:12:07 PM , Rating: 2
Is that a picture of Bruce from Armageddon? What does that have to do with this article?

I wonder if those greenpeace terrorists use and buy cars, mobile phones, made in china clothes, shoes, rubber dingys to chase whaling vessels.

Do they know all those things they consume and eat violate the very enviroment they say they advocate to help.

Unless that greenpeace activist lives like the Amish they should just shut up.

By masher2 on 10/16/2007 12:54:42 PM , Rating: 3
> "Is that a picture of Bruce from Armageddon? What does that have to do with this article"

Most likely because he's teeing off on a Greenpeace ship in that particular scene.

By ChipDude on 10/16/2007 2:26:56 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, yes, as noted by others perfect. I didn't remember if he was golfing at the terrorists or just driving a few balls.

He should have pulled out a portable surface to surface missle launcher I say.

Answer to your why? questions
By allometry on 10/16/2007 1:15:06 PM , Rating: 2
Before I conclude this, good job to Masher for holding his ground! Now, to get to the point...

Apple's manufacturing, or outsourced manufacturing, is as any other manufacturing trade; high volume at low costs. Lead solder is pretty standard, regardless of what RoHS states and what Greenpeace wants. Standards save money and thus, moving to any other platform, such as synthetic solders cost more. Even by a few pennies, the cost adds up over the lifetime of a manufactured product.

Apple is also like any other company, out to make money. For those who believe that Apple is here to save the planet, let me be the first to tell you... You have been mislead! Businesses are in business to make money, period. Sure, while there are businesses out there that do make a difference in people's lives, it is not the reason they are in business. Baseline business principal; make money!

This goes hand-in-hand with the following... Apple, along with many other corporations in America, have gone green, and it's not for the cause of saving the planet; it's for saving their customers.

Corporations track customer trends. There's been a trend in America for quite a while and it's an environmental movement, or at least that's what it seems like. Personally, I don't buy into the environmental movement, because I'm a "capitalist pig", or any other phrase along those lines. Anyway, a corporation will not risk losing customers over something as silly as a green trend and so it's best to move marketing towards appeasing those who buy into it. Doing so saves an existing customer base and also opens doors to those who never bought a product from such a company before, because the product didn't meet personal standards.

For those here who have stated they won't buy products from Apple, because they don't meet a set standard by the EU or even an extremest group's standards, I respect that. In a capitalist society, one of the benefits is that you can invest or waste your money to your hearts content. But, from a personal point of view, not buying a product because it contains lead and or any other dangerous material is hypocritical.

Not only the iPhone, but thermostats, stereos, televisions, toasters, refrigerators and pretty much anything else used on a daily basis, contains known toxic materials. Fortunately, we have braved centuries of technological evolution and through science as well, we have learned to tame such dangerous, but useful materials. To me, the iPhone seems pretty safe. I've used one, haven't had any side effects of lead poisoning. My thermostat which uses a mercury balance hasn't killed me. My TV hasn't fried my brain and even more so, my microwave hasn't cooked me yet...

I think this post is pretty clear. Extreme environmental groups, such as Greenpeace, make a huge stink out of anything, just to stay in the headlines. The same goes for groups such as Peta and the ACLU. I don't believe they are really out to help anyone, but their own special interests. Suing Apple, because of lead, is a lost battle [for Greenpeace], because it's not breaking laws. Not just that, but Apple is not using these materials in a way that is harmful to people. These materials are contained where they are out of direct reach of the user. The only way to get to these materials is an in an undocumented way. Basically, this is just more pointless crap in the news, that will piss me off, but in Apple and Greenpeace's case; suing is Greenpeace's way of maintaining power over corporations and Apple has proven rarely to hold their ground.

It's likely this case will fall on the floor when Apple announces in a few weeks that it's removing all lead from iPhones. They'll do so to maintain their reputation as a green company and to keep the Apple brand away from negative press. Regardless of this case, I expect Apple to, break the rules, once again...

RE: Answer to your why? questions
By TomZ on 10/16/2007 1:47:41 PM , Rating: 2
Good post, but just for the record, Greenpeace isn't concerned about the level of lead in the iPhone, nor are they claiming that the iPhone is not RoHS compliant. Check out the linked report for yourself - they're more concerned about some of the other substances. It's a minor point though; doesn't change your thesis.

RE: Answer to your why? questions
By allometry on 10/16/2007 1:54:06 PM , Rating: 2

Granted, but as with any environmental group; if it's not one thing, it's another.

RE: Answer to your why? questions
By TomZ on 10/16/2007 2:55:30 PM , Rating: 1
...and oftentimes is more like "bait and switch." You even see that here on DT from some of the environmental types.

E.g., "Well CO2 doesn't seem to be such a big deal as we first said it was, but we really should push CO2 reduction in order to reduce other forms of pollution anyway." I just love that kind of reasoning - NOT.

Hmph, greenpeace
By xxsk8er101xx on 10/16/2007 2:11:10 PM , Rating: 2
Greenpeace, the other white fascist neo-nazi group.

RE: Hmph, greenpeace
By iFX on 10/16/2007 3:36:30 PM , Rating: 2
What does being white have to do with Greenpeace?

how could this happen...
By roblob on 10/16/2007 8:50:42 PM , Rating: 2
how could a fruit be bad for the environment???

RE: how could this happen...
By Omega215D on 10/17/2007 1:09:37 AM , Rating: 2
Apple's iFruit is GreenPeace friendly so you will be safe if you decide to eat it in order to get your Zinc fix.

By dare2savefreedom on 10/17/2007 12:33:53 PM , Rating: 2
with the ifire itoxic ipollutin news coming out over and over is it so trendy to be a muc lover?
It is trendy to waste money and screw the environment and your health?

Hell, i even bought plastic case fans that are rohs compliant and apple shows they don't give a $hiite about recycling or safe manufacturing.
What do you expect from a company led by a deadbeat dad?

GNU/linux - it's not being sued

By rcc on 10/17/2007 1:53:54 PM , Rating: 2
GNU/linux - it's not being sued... lol, that's because there is no money in it. : )

So THAT is why!
By Justin Case on 10/17/2007 10:37:44 AM , Rating: 3
These compounds are level 2 toxins with respect to reproduction. They can damage and interference [sic] in the sexual development of mammals

Well, I guess that explains a lot about geeks, then.

Perfect Pic!
By RobberBaron on 10/16/2007 9:27:38 AM , Rating: 2
I love the choice of pic!

Great Work....
By dflynchimp on 10/16/2007 10:01:17 AM , Rating: 2
Indeed, the very act of putting warning labels on the product will prevent its toxic contents from harming the consumers.


By goku on 10/16/2007 11:25:04 AM , Rating: 2
For good soldering, ya gotta have lead otherwise you'll get wiskars.

By iFX on 10/16/2007 11:31:33 AM , Rating: 2
Apple hasn't had this much negative press since the mid-1990s.

The old way is best?
By kerpwnt on 10/16/2007 10:32:35 PM , Rating: 2
We have safer alternatives and do not need to justify the use of hazardous materials by stating how common they are. We know, with certainty, that some of these chemicals damage our bodies. Many of the things we eat have small amounts of toxins, but we would be stupid to think we could expose ourselves to much higher doses for no other reason than their natural occurrence. Seeds of apples and other fruits contain minuscule amounts of cyanide. Because it occurs naturally, does that mean it is safe to surround ourselves with it? Hazardous chemicals may hold a necessary place in some commercial products, but I would like to avoid carrying them around in my pocket (or anywhere else possible).

In the end, it is the consumer’s duty to make informed purchases. If you are concerned about a company’s business practices, you should not buy their products. Perhaps it is also the informed consumer’s duty to educate people who only receive product information from television commercials.

By Dfere on 10/17/2007 9:35:25 AM , Rating: 2

My opinion on this topic...
By rushfan2006 on 10/18/2007 9:26:23 PM , Rating: 2

thank you.

Have a nice day.

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA
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