137 workers were poisoned by a chemical called n-hexane at an Apple computer manufacturing plant in Taiwan that makes parts for iPhones and Macintosh computers.
Workers were compensated but some claim it is not enough and have written a letter to Steve Jobs begging for more help.
They say the factory owner has pressured those who become sick to give up their jobs and hasn’t guaranteed help if workers contract new illnesses.
The company, known as WinTek switched over to n-hexane to make touch screens for the devices instead of alcohol because it sped up the drying process, but has now switched back to alcohol since reports of illnesses began.
Workers experienced faintness, tiredness, and swelling of hands and feet.
Daily exposure to n-hexane can cause long term effects.
An annual report from Apple acknowledges the incidents:
“In 2010 we learned that 137 workers at the Suzhou facility of Wintek, one of Apple’s suppliers, had suffered adverse health effects following exposure to n-hexane, a chemical in cleaning agents used in some manufacturing processes,” the report read.
“We required Wintek to stop using n-hexane and to provide evidence that they had removed the chemical from their production lines,” it said.
Apple has requested WinTek to properly ventilate its factories.
Apple has run into problems with its Chinese factories before, who commonly use low cost cheap labor to manufacture their products under hazardous conditions.
At their main supplier in China FoxxConn, a dozen workers committed suicide while working for low wages under strenuous conditions.
“We were disturbed and deeply saddened to learn that factory workers were taking their own lives,” Apple said in a report.
Apple has said “suicide prevention specialists” have been working with workers in factories overseas.