28 October 2010

In March 2010, a SACOM research team went to investigate the massive poisoning case at United Win (China) Technology Ltd., a subsidiary of Wintek Corporation in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China.

In mid-2009, there were rumours about workers being poisoned. The poisoning cases were only confirmed after a strike erupted before the Lunar New Year in 2010. Forty seven workers were confirmed poisoned by a chemical called n-hexane which the workers used to clean iPhone screens.In other words, the tragedy is directly linked to Apple. As of mid-September, some workers complained they had not fully recovered and they had symptoms of relapse. Despite the severity of the incident, Apple neither gave a public account of the tragedy nor any remediation measures to the victims for its failure to implement the code of conduct (CoC). SACOM issued an investigative report titled Apple Owes Workers and Public a Response over the Poisonings in May 2010 in response to the incident.

Regrettably, United Win is not a unique case. During the investigation of United Win in March, SACOM encountered a few workers from Yun Heng Metal, Electrical and Mechanical Company (運恆五金機電經營部) who were also poisoned by n-hexane. At that time, the victims also claimed they produced for Apple.

Researchers visited the Number Five People’s Hospital in Suzhou. Besides the United Win poisoned workers that were hospitalized, researchers met four female workers from Yun Heng who were receiving treatment in the hospital. According to the Yun Heng workers, their factory is a supplier to the SurTech Technology (Suzhou) Co. Ltd. (宇瀚光電科技蘇州有限公司). And the buying relationship between Yun Heng and SurTech was confirmed by the Suzhou Municipal Administration of Work Safety. From April 2009 to January 2010, there were at least 8 workers poisoned at Yun Heng. Additionally, a SurTech employee confirmed that the company produced Apple logos. Recently, ABC News also affirmed the victims produced for Apple.

The full report is available at http://sacom.hk/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/more-workers-are-poisoned-by-apple1.pdf.