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Greenpeace Hazardous Material Report Slams Apple

Greenpeace Hazardous Material Report Slams Apple

by , 9:50 AM EDT, September 18th, 2006

The environmental activist group, Greenpeace, released a report on Monday titled Toxic Chemicals In Your Laptop that attempts to list the percentages of toxic chemicals found in several different laptop computer models, including Apple's MacBook Pro. Greenpeace tested the computers for compliance with The European Union's RoHS directive - a set of voluntary guidelines that restrict the use of six hazardous materials in electronic devices.

The study tested Apple's MacBook Pro, the Acer Aspire 5672WLMi, Dell's Latitude D810, the HP Pavillon dv-4357EA, and Sony's Vaio VGN-FJ 180. The tests concluded that the MacBook Pro was fully compliant with the RoHS guidelines, but the HP laptop was not. In fact, the MacBook Pro was fully compliant with the RoHS guidelines months before they were enacted.

The tests also checked for two substances not included in the RoHS guidelines: PVC and TBBPA (a flame retardant). 262 parts per million of TBBPA were found in an internal fan assembly in Apple's laptop, the highest percentage of the laptops in the study. PVC was also found in the plastic coating on a fan wire.

Considering how the MacBook Pro ranked in the Greenpeace study - with a decidedly negative spin - it's no surprise that the group listed Apple as one of the least environmentally friendly companies in its report titled Guide To Greener Electronics. In that report, which was weighted more heavily on the use of toxic substances in production instead of recycling, the group ranked Apple near the bottom of its list.

Iza Kruszewska, Greenpeace International toxics campaigner, made a point to single out Apple by stating "It is disappointing to see Apple ranking so low in the overall guide. They are meant to be world leaders in design and marketing, they should also be world leaders in environmental innovation."

The two reports seem to be at odds since the Guide To Greener Electronics report slams Apple for its hazardous materials use, but the Toxic Chemicals In Your Laptop report offers a different story. The HP Pavillion, which Greenpeace ranked higher in the September report, contains lead - a material Apple does not use in the MacBook Pro. Dell also came in with the highest overall concentration of bromine in its laptop.

Apple explains its environmental stance, along with information about its voluntary take-back and recycling programs, on its Web site.

The Guide To Greener Electronics and Toxic Chemicals In Your Laptop are both available as PDF documents at the Greenpeace Web site.

Thanks to TMO reader Stephen Russell for pointing out the Greenpeace toxic chemical report.

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