Safer Materials

Safer to make. And to use.

Design, manufacture, test. Repeat.

To help protect people and the planet, we set strict standards for the materials used in our devices — in many cases going far beyond what’s required by law. The evaluation process begins early in the design and manufacturing phases. If replacements for hazardous chemicals aren’t readily available, we work with our suppliers to find substitutions or explore how to eliminate the need for that substance. When we test replacements, we look for formulations that meet our environmental standards without compromising performance. And, of course, the end product must still live up to the design standards you expect from Apple.

We run our own Environmental Testing Lab.

We built our own Environmental Testing Lab, where our chemists and toxicologists look for any potentially harmful substances. Since 2006, we have expanded it to more than 30 times its original size, and have regularly updated it with state-of-the-art equipment — like inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, liquid chromatography mass spectrometry, and a laser-induced breakdown spectrometer similar to the one used by the Mars rover. We’ve even manufactured artificial sweat to simulate human exposure, and to evaluate the safety of our materials that come into contact with skin.

To understand the safety of our materials more comprehensively, we’re identifying all the substances in every one of the parts we use. So far, we’ve collected the composition of more than 25,000 individual components out of the 50,000 present in our products, and we get data on more parts every day. We then assess the chemicals in our materials using hazard and risk assessment tools to help us understand their effect on people’s health and on the environment.

Apple Environmental Testing Lab, Cupertino, California

High safety standards for the people who make our products.

We also work to protect the health and safety of the people who work in our supply chain. The standards we set for our suppliers go far beyond what’s required by law, like our Regulated Substances Specification (RSS) list, which identifies the toxic chemicals we limit or prohibit in our manufacturing processes and products. We also lead audits that inventory chemical purchasing and map chemicals across our supply chain. We’ve removed the toxins benzene, n-hexane, toluene, and chlorinated organic compounds from all our final assembly sites, while continuing to work with our suppliers to help them better manage chemicals used in manufacturing.

Final assembly facility, Shanghai, China

The worst toxins and what we’ve done about them.

We’re continually evaluating the materials used in products. When we identify toxins, we reduce them, remove them, or develop new materials that are safer. These efforts also remove toxins from our manufacturing and recycling processes, which protects the people who make and take apart our products and keeps pollutants out of the land, air, and water.

Beryllium

Eliminated from all new product designs. Beryllium is found in copper alloys used to make connectors and springs.

Mercury

Eliminated in 2009. We use energy-efficient, mercury-free LEDs and OLEDs instead of mercury-based fluorescent lamps in all our displays.

Lead

Phased out of display glass and solder in 2006.1

Arsenic

Eliminated from display glass since 2008.2

PVC and Phthalates

Replaced with safer thermoplastic elastomers. PVC and phthalates are still used by other companies in power cords and headphone cables.3

Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs)

Eliminated from thousands of parts such as enclosures, circuit boards, and connectors in 2008. We use safer metal hydroxides and phosphorus compounds in their place.4

We can do a lot.
But we can’t do it alone.

We want insights and ideas from those who share our commitment to removing toxins. So we formed our own Green Chemistry Advisory Board, made up of some of the world’s leading toxicologists, researchers, and academics. The board helps us identify innovative ways to minimize or eliminate toxins from our supply chain. We also invite experts from around the world to meet with leaders at Apple. Together, we focus on eliminating toxins at each stage of our process, while sharing our learnings through Green America’s Clean Electronics Production Network. And we seek out the best ideas and insights from top NGOs to help us make our products and processes even safer.

More questions? More answers.

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