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22 Feb 2010

Tania Branigan, Guardian [UK]

Workers at Chinese mobile phone supplier poisoned by cleaning chemical

Workers at a Chinese factory [Wintek] that makes parts for mobile phone companies…have been in hospital for months after being poisoned by a chemical used in production…The owner of the plant says it stopped using the screen-cleaner n-hexane…last year after 47 workers were taken ill…A spokesman for Wintek said…that the company had paid the workers' medical bills…topped up with food and nutrition supplements amounting to more than their usual wage. In a statement, Nokia…said: "We became aware of the allegations regarding the use of n-hexane in July 2009 and started our investigation immediately. Although it was confirmed that the n-hexane was not used on our production lines at the supplier…we agreed on a development plan for health and safety management at …[the] factory and a series of corrective measures have been taken…"…A spokesperson for Apple confirmed that the company had received the Guardian's email queries, but no response was forthcoming…

Part of the following timelines

China: Workers protest lack of information regarding alleged deaths due to toxic exposure at Wintek factory, believed to be Apple supplier

Sherpa releases proposal paper with 46 ideas to foster transnational regulation of companies

Wintek workers' letters to Apple - Feb 2011