A Taiwanese Company that makes Bravia flat panel TV’s for Sony has been accused of poisioning employees while assembling products for Apple.
According to the ABC’s Foreign Correspondent show, employees at Wintek have become seriously sick at a Company plant in southern China, where they were assembling Apple laptops and iPhones, using a chemical known as n-hexane which is described as a dangerous chemical.
The ABC who managed to get access to a the Number Five People’s Hospital in Suzhou discovered a group of women who were working in a very small, badly ventilated factory and were being treated for exposure to the chemical n-hexane.
According to the workers, the chemical was being used in the production of Apple products and has left them unable to walk. According to a story on the ABC web site, ABC journalists snuck into the Number Five People’s Hospital to visit a group of women who were working in a very small, badly ventilated factory.
The women said that were using n-hexane to glue and polish the logos on Apple products. The ABC said that some of the patents had kept the Apple logos to prove that they were working on Apple products and showed them to the ABC.
After breathing in the chemical’s vapours, they became dizzy and numb and eventually they could not walk.
“At first the symptoms were pretty obvious. My hands were numb. I could hardly walk or run,” one woman told the ABC.
“I think they knew it was poisonous to human bodies but if they had used another chemical our output would not have increased,” another woman said.
“By using n-hexane, it was much more efficient”.
The women have now been in hospital for more than half a year.
The workers’ boss, Zhong Jianxiang, was not available to be interviewed. Apple, meanwhile, would not confirm it had sourced products from companies based in China, but said it had tightened its requirements regarding workplace safety at its suppliers.
‘It’s very painful’ Workers in much bigger factories have also reported similar stories.
“Our company mainly produces the touch screens for mobile phones. Our main client is Apple,” one Wintek worker said. Wintek has also been using n-hexane and, after breathing in the chemical, more than 60 workers had to be hospitalised.
“I am back at work but my symptoms are still with me,” one worker said. “My legs still hurt. This will accompany me for the rest of my life. It’s very painful.” Wintek has paid its workers’ hospital bills and said it had removed n-hexane from its production lines.
It also said that if “affected people are given proper treatment they can successfully recover from n-hexane exposure”.