Apple gets sued over Greenpeace iPhone report

So hot on the heels of that Greenpeace report (and Apple response) claiming the iPhone contains toxic chemicals, California's Center for Environmental Health filed legal notice of a potential lawsuit against Apple alleging under California's Proposition 65 law that the iPhone's "phthalate" content requires the company to either put warning labels on the device, or, better yet, re-engineer it so it doesn't contain the compounds at all. The notice gives Apple 60 days to respond before CEH can file a lawsuit. We spoke to Charles Margulis, communications director at CEH, and learned a few things about the suit:

  • CEH hasn't actually tested an iPhone for the presence of these compounds themselves -- they're working off what they, like everyone else, read in the Greenpeace report. However, they have started testing and expect to be complete before the 60 days are up. Charles wouldn't say what they would do if their tests didn't jive with Greenpeace's results.

  • The reason they filed suit so quickly is a function of how the law works. Even though they don't have independent verification of the iPhone's alleged toxic content, CEH will be in a weaker position to sue Apple if another organization or individual files first. According to Charles, CEH would rather have Apple revise the iPhone to be cleaner than get massive damages, and CEH doesn't want other, greedier parties to get in the way.

  • The ultimate goal is not necessarily monetary damages -- although Charles called those "a tool we can use" -- but to get Apple to reformulate the iPhone and perhaps send a warning letter to existing customers.

So while we're still going to be skeptical until we see additional verification of that Greenpeace report, it certainly doesn't seem like CEH is simply angling for cash here. In the meantime, it might be wise to avoid blending your baby.

Disclaimer: Although this post was written by an attorney, it is not meant as legal advice or analysis and should not be taken as such.

Read -- PC World article on the suit
Read -- CEH website