AfterDawn: Tech news

iPhone contractor Wintek sued over alleged poisoning

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 17 May 2010 0:48 User comments (9)

iPhone contractor Wintek sued over alleged poisoning According to Stratfor Global Intelligence, 44 workers from a factory in Suzhou, China plan to sue the iPhone contractor Wintek after they were allegedly exposed to poison while cleaning iPhone screens with the chemical "n-hexane."
The firm says 62 workers have been hospitalized in the last 9 months due to n-hexane poisoning. The poisoning is so serious that it can "cause nerve damage and sometimes paralysis."

Stratfor goes on to say that a factory manager at the plant made the workers use the chemical because it dries faster than standard alcohol, and also leaves less streaks. That manager has since been fired.

The issue first went public in January when 2000 protesters began smashing car windows and factory windows over a dispute relating to year-end bonuses.

Adds Stratfor: "Lawsuits of any kind are uncommon in China, where disputes are usually addressed quietly behind closed doors. Much more common is labor abuse, and given the rising power of workers, we can expect to see more such suits, which provide legal outlets for social tension, a constant concern for Beijing."

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9 user comments

117.5.2010 4:33

I have to wonder...what is the point of being RoHS if they are going to wipe toxic chemicals all over it right before putting it in the box?

Also, why are we still buying products from china? The toys are full of lead, the electronics are smeared with toxic chemicals, and the drywall is an inhalation hazard, even if completely undamaged. Every time china does something, they cut every corner that they can safely, then they cut one more corner to pay for the toxins that they throw in as the last step. I know it can be hard to avoid Chinese goods at a consumer level...but ultimately the companies that make products in China are responsible...none of these people would have gotten sick if the iPhone was made in ANY other country.

217.5.2010 4:55

Originally posted by KillerBug:
none of these people would have gotten sick if the iPhone was made in ANY other country.
another way to spin it would be
"none of these people would have gotten sick if the iPhone wasnt made in ANY country."

317.5.2010 5:31
Paula_X
Inactive

Quote:
Every time china does something, they cut every corner that they can safely,
replace "China" with "capitalism" .. profits come before safety, ALWAYS..

apparently n-hexane is safe to breathe.. according to government vehicle emission tables.. http://www.npl.co.uk/analytical-science/...ission-monitors

why buy stuff from China?.. because it's the most important thing for our greedy retailers who want to make a 400% markup on everything to pay the greedy shareholders.. it's CHEAP!!

capitalism is corrupt to the core ..
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 17 May 2010 @ 5:36

417.5.2010 15:25

Originally posted by Paula_X:
Quote:
Every time china does something, they cut every corner that they can safely,
replace "China" with "capitalism" .. profits come before safety, ALWAYS..

apparently n-hexane is safe to breathe.. according to government vehicle emission tables.. http://www.npl.co.uk/analytical-science/...ission-monitors

why buy stuff from China?.. because it's the most important thing for our greedy retailers who want to make a 400% markup on everything to pay the greedy shareholders.. it's CHEAP!!

capitalism is corrupt to the core ..
once workers get rights and a trade union's active manufacturing will come back to Europe...just a matter of time.there will be an end to the "cheap"

517.5.2010 22:51

so paula, why do you hate capitalism so much?

618.5.2010 2:33

It is easy to hate runaway capitalism...just as it is easy to hate a runaway government or anything else that started as a service for customers (by providing selection, and competition, prices go down and quality goes up), but now capitalism is all about moving the factory to china and the tech support to Africa, so that before you know it, the economy of the countries that you are selling to are so bad that they cannot afford your products.

[edit]
BTW...I have trouble believing that it saves a lot of money to make cell phones in China. It takes an unskilled, minimum-wage worker about 30 seconds to assemble a iPhone, assuming it isn't done by robots. Considering the phone costs about $400, and you are paying $10 an hour, assembling the phone in the USA would add less than $0.09 to the production price of each phone...and that is assuming that China is doing it for free, and shipping to the US for free.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 18 May 2010 @ 2:37

718.5.2010 21:24
GeredG
Unverified new user

EVERYONE is accountable for their actions, even the "poor" workers at this factory. They are not chained down, yes they are overworked and very little pay, but they have a choice too! There are many other jobs in China, believe me I lived there. There is manufacturing plants, aggriculture, services industry, many more. Nobody MAKES them work at that plant. This victim mentality is a real desease, because we get to a place where everybody else is to blame, the government, the company, the school. At the end nothing gets resolved because peope fail to realize that it starts with them.

It is becoming an epidemic is this country (US). "Macdonalds is to blame because my kid is obese". Shame on Apple for making a new phone, "forcing" us to upgrade because the new one is better.

Grow up.

821.5.2010 14:39

Originally posted by GeredG:
EVERYONE is accountable for their actions, even the "poor" workers at this factory. They are not chained down, yes they are overworked and very little pay, but they have a choice too! There are many other jobs in China, believe me I lived there. There is manufacturing plants, aggriculture, services industry, many more. Nobody MAKES them work at that plant. This victim mentality is a real desease, because we get to a place where everybody else is to blame, the government, the company, the school. At the end nothing gets resolved because peope fail to realize that it starts with them.

It is becoming an epidemic is this country (US). "Macdonalds is to blame because my kid is obese". Shame on Apple for making a new phone, "forcing" us to upgrade because the new one is better.

Grow up.
I think you need to brush up on some of that history you were supposed to learn in school. About 100+ years ago the western world used to be the exact same; low wages, 60+ hour work weeks, absolutely no concern for safety and many other things. Thanks mainly to unions, government legislation, and people speaking out against this shit(not necessarily in that order) our workplaces are now pretty safe.

Why don't you try putting yourself into their shoes; quit your current job, move to china, go have some kids, and try to find a job which pays enough to support your family. My money's on the likelihood that the best paying job you can find pays $2.50/day for 12+ hours at some factory where you assemble those mercury filled fluorescent tubes with no safety gear.

I only have one thing to say to people like you, "STFU you ignorant prick!"
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 21 May 2010 @ 14:43

927.5.2011 6:06

Originally posted by Paula_X:
Quote:
Every time china does something, they cut every corner that they can safely,
replace "China" with "capitalism" .. profits come before safety, ALWAYS..

apparently n-hexane is safe to breathe.. according to government vehicle emission tables.. http://www.npl.co.uk/analytical-science/gas-standards/products-and-services/gas-standards-for-calibrating-vehicle-emission-monitors

why buy stuff from China?.. because it's the most important thing for our greedy retailers who want to make a 400% markup on everything to pay the greedy shareholders.. it's CHEAP!!

capitalism is corrupt to the core ..
I can't imagine them wearing gloves, so it was probably absorbed through the skin over a period of time.

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