Sydney, Oct 16 (UNI) Hazardous chemicals found in the Apple iPhone can interfere with sexual development in mammals, scientists at Greenpeace said.
The environmental campaigner said its own tests have revealed hazardous substances which had already been eliminated by other mobile phone manufacturers.
In its latest report chastising Apple for its apparent disregard for the environment, the Greenpeace urged the US National Centre for Environmental Health to announce it intended to file a lawsuit against Apple for breaking Californian law, which requires products containing certain chemicals to carry a warning label.
Greenpeace found the iPhone contained toxic brominated compounds and hazardous PVC plastics, but noted the device appeared to comply with safety regulations, which prohibit the use of lead, cadmium, mercury and chromium.
One of the authors of the report, Greenpeace Research Laboratories senior scientist Dr David Santillo, said: ''Two of the phthalate plasticisers found at high levels in the headphone cable are classified in Europe as 'toxic to reproduction, category 2' because of their long-recognised ability to interfere with sexual development in mammals.'' It is not clear whether the same plasticisers are found in other Apple products, such as the iPod. The iPhone is not due to launch in Australia until next year but many Australians have imported the device from the US and hacked it to work on local mobile networks, the Age reported.
While not prohibited for mobile phones, phthalates are banned from use in toys and childcare products across the European Union.
But reports from scientists suggest Greenpeace may have exaggerated by implying the iPhone could be a health risk to humans.
According to the Phthalate Information Centre website, produced by the American Chemistry Council, said studies found that high doses of some phthalates, when administered to pregnant rodents shortly before they gave birth, ''suppressed levels of testosterone, a male hormone key to sexual development in the male foetuses, and interfered with the development of male reproductive organs''.
But it also noted a newer study conducted by the Society of Toxicology found similar tests conducted on monkeys had no negative effects on the development of the male reproductive tract.
''The research [on monkeys] indicates that the reproductive effects observed in rodents may not be relevant to humans,'' it said.