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Greenpeace forced out of Apple Mac Expo


26 October 2006 - London, International — Greenpeace’s high profile ’Green my Apple’ stall was shut-down today at the start of the Mac Expo. (1) Organisers of the Mac Expo claimed they had received complaints from unnamed sources. The Greenpeace stall was bought for the three-day expo in an attempt to raise awareness about concerns over the use of toxic chemicals in Apple’s products.
The Greenpeace volunteers manning the stall were signing up Mac fans to challenge Apple to go green. Flyers explaining the Green my Apple campaign were handed out to members of the public along with organic green apples. The volunteers have vowed to return to the expo tomorrow to continue the ’Green my Apple’ campaign.

“This reaction is totally over-the-top” said Iza Kruszewska, Greenpeace International campaigner at the expo. “Apple refuses to address our criticisms on their products, both for the recycling and for the use of harmful chemicals. Instead of hiding their head in the sand, Apple should be a world leader in the greening of the electronics industry, not lagging behind,” she continued.

Apple scored 11th place (out of 14) on a ’Guide to Greener Electronics’ recently released by Greenpeace, with a poor showing on almost all criteria. (2) The company fails to embrace the precautionary principle, withholds its full list of regulated substances, provides no timelines for eliminating toxic polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and no commitment at all to phasing out all uses of brominated flame retardants (BFRs). (3) The company also performs poorly on product take back and recycling, with the exception of reporting on the amounts of its electronic waste recycled.

“It’s time for Apple to use clean components in all of its products and to provide a free take-back program to reuse and recycle its products wherever they are sold. We are challenging the world leader in design to also be a world leader in environmental innovation. We challenge Apple to have a product range on the market by 2007 which is free of the worst toxic chemicals,” she concluded.

Notes to Editor

1. Mac Expo at the Olympia Kingston between 26th-28th of October is the UK’s leading exhibition and conference for the Mac community.
2. Greenpeace ’Guide to Greener Electronics’
3. Greenpeace study ’Toxic Chemicals in Computers Exposed’ (released 18th September 2006) revealed the presence of toxic substances in the five tested brands including the APPLE laptop. Apple products still contain a number of hazardous chemicals like PVC and BFRs. The fan in the Mac Book Pro had a concentration of 262 mg/kg of TBBPA (a type of brominated flame retardant - BFR) which was the highest level in the fans among the five brands.

Additional notes: Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a chlorinated plastic used in some electronic products and for insulation on wires and cables. PVC is one of the most widely used plastics but its production, use and disposal create toxic pollution. Chlorinated dioxins and furans are released when PVC is produced or disposed of by incineration (or simply burning). Dioxins and furans are classes of chemical compounds widely recognised as some of the most toxic chemicals ever made by humans and many are toxic even in very low concentrations.

Brominated flame retardants (BFRs), used in circuit board and plastic casings, do not break down easily and build up in the environment. Long-term exposure can lead to impaired learning and memory functions. They also interfere with thyroid and oestrogen hormone systems. Exposure in the womb has been linked to behavioural problems. TBBPA, a type of BFR used in circuit boards has been linked to neurotoxicity.

The presence of high levels of BFRs in electronics products has the potential to generate brominated dioxins and furans, when the electronic waste comes to be smelted, incinerated or burnt in the open. Dioxins and furans are classes of chemical compounds widely recognised as some of the most toxic chemicals ever made by humans and many are toxic even in very low concentrations.
Further contact information for reporters to get video, photos or report details

For interviews Iza Kruszewska, Greenpeace International campaigner +44 7 801 212 992

For images of the ’Green my Apple’ stall John Novis, Greenpeace International picture desk +31 6 5381 9121


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