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Wintek workers still experience effects from n-hexane exposure, Apple issues a report

Joseph L. Flatley
February 22, 2011
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It's been a few months since we checked in on the workers at Wintek, where they manufacture touchscreens for the likes of Apple. As you might remember, the former company was facing a lawsuit for chemical poisoning that occurred between May 2008 to August 2009 when the company substituted alcohol for n-hexane in the manufacturing process. Both Apple and Wintek maintain that ultimately a total of 137 people had been hospitalized, and all have recovered -- but as Reuters points out, daily exposure to the chemical has been known to cause "long-term and possibly irreversible nerve damage," and Wintek employees have maintained that the company has left them holding the bag for symptoms that could very well flare up again in the future (or, in some cases, never really went away). "We are unable to cope with the medical costs of treatment in the future," said Guo Ruiqiang, a worker at the plant. "We can only stay in the factory and see what happens. We just feel very helpless now." For Apple's part, the company has mandated that Wintek "work with a consultant to improve their Environmental Health and Safety processes and management systems" in anticipation of a complete reaudit of the facility in 2011. [Warning: PDF More Coverage link]

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