Apple said Wednesday that its factories would no longer use two chemicals that are potentially hazardous to workers in the assembly of iPhones and iPads.
On the heels of a petition earlier this year by two activist groups, Apple moved to ban benzene and n-hexane from final production, the Associated Press reports. Some 500,000 people work on final production at more than 20 factories, primarily in China but also in Brazil, Ireland, Texas and California. The California-based company also lowered the maximum amount of the chemicals that can be present during earlier production phases, which occurs across hundreds of other factories.
The company said that a four-month investigation found no evidence that those workers were at risk from the chemicals, which are often found in solvents used to clean machinery. Benzene, which is also found in gasoline, paints and detergents, is believed to be a carcinogen and n-hexane has been linked to nerve damage, according to the AP.
“We think it's really important that we show some leadership and really look toward the future by trying to use greener chemistries,” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environmental initiatives, told the AP.