Chinese media reports worker poisoning at Apple, Nokia touchscreen maker Wintek

cctv.jpg China's state television network CCTV this weekend reported that at least one worker has died, with others injured, from N-hexane poisoning at a factory which supplies components for Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch. The report alleges hazardous work conditions and disputes over pay and safety issues at a Wintek Corporation subsidiary in Suzhou. Here's the CCTV video report (in Chinese), and here's an English language item in China Tech News. I can't find any Western (or more trusted, independent, China-based) reporting on this yet, with which to validate the claims. I've reached out to both Apple and Wintek for comment.

Update: Here's a related report from January, in China Daily claiming that at least four workers died from hexane overexposure. (thanks Charles Starrett). More reports from January: The Star, and Engadget. Wintek is a major parts supplier for Nokia, also.


  1. It’s difficult for me to see this as anything other than some sort of political ploy/message. In recent years China has had hundreds if not thousands of deaths in anti-government riots and from environmental catastrophes that never get reported by the state media, but this single death rates a story? I wonder why.

    1. Because this particular story demonstrates in a dramatic way how we as western gadget consumers are connected to deaths in China. It’s notable because it’s a story about China but it’s also a story about us.

    2. If was posted entirely for your scorn nothing more. No politics, no message just You! (esp not because Apple is seen as an “environmentally friendly” company. A company whose products often drive news cycles).

  2. This would not have been noteworthy had the negligent factory owners been suppliers for Acer or Dell. The attempt to sensationalize the story by tying it to media darling/monster Apple is a bit cynical.

  3. Anyone know why they’d be using hexane to clean the screens, instead of something like acetone, or isopropyl alcohol?

    Aside from being less toxic, they’re generally cheaper, too.

  4. Consumers, not just workers, of all stripes are affected by the poor practices of Chinese factories. This is just the latest and happens to involve Apple.

    See also the toxicity of Chinese Gyoza, Spinach, Frozen peas, Pet food, and any toy containing the color red.

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