Apple bans chemical that causes nerve damage

August 14, 2014: 12:42 PM ET
apple chemicals
Apple has banned two toxic chemicals - benzene and n-hexane - from the manufacturing process of its computers and other products.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

After years of controversy surrounding the treatment of its factory workers, Apple decided Thursday to eliminate the use of two toxic chemicals in its manufacturing process.

Lisa Jackson, vice president of environmental initiatives at Apple (AAPL, Tech30), says the computer company will prohibit the use of benzene and n-hexane in the assembly of its electronics. Benzene is a carcinogen associated with leukemia, and workers who are exposed to high concentrations of n-hexane in large doses can develop nerve damage, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control.

Jackson said the company had recently "received some questions" about whether chemicals were being used at Apple. So she dispatched investigators into Apple's 22 factories and "found no evidence of workers' health being put at risk."

She said the company's restrictions on unsafe chemicals have been updated to make sure the two chemicals are not used in the manufacturing process.

In its effort towards the use of green materials, Apple previously developed power cords without including PVC, displays without mercury and enclosures without brominated flame retardants.

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