Chemical Exposure at Apple Supplier Looks Bad

The DigiTimes is reporting some unsettling news that Wintek, one of the key suppliers to Apple, has reports of employees in their Chinese facilities suffering from exposure to poisonous chemicals.

Wintek is a Taiwan-based LCD and touch panel manufacturer with subsidiary locations across the globe made the announcement May 17th through a statement on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. In that statement Wintek also stated that they have already taken proper measures, including medical treament for the affected employees and had also stopped using the chemical in question, n-hexane.

N-hexane is no joke; this stuff is known to cause nerve damage and paralysis in humans if handled inappropriately.

Last week, it was revealed that 44 workers of Wintek’s plant in Suzhou, China plan to sue the company. It was also reported that atleast 62 workers were hospitalized since August of 2009 after exposure to n-hexane.

In question, and what’s being alleged, is that the workers were forced to use n-hexane instead of alcohol to clean display panels because the chemical dries faster and leaves fewer streaks on glass. The factory manager who allegedly forced the workers to use n-hexane has since been fired (imagine that…).

What really brings this to the forefront of conversation for us here at Macgasm is that Wintek was recently awarded a contract to produce new iPad screens to help offset reported shortages. It is also rumored that Wintek is responsible for approximately 40 percent of the touch panels in the forthcoming iPhone 4G.

To read the statement directly from the Wintek Corporation click here.

As more details are clarified and made public we will pass the information on.

Based on reports from DigiTimes and AppleInsider.

James has been in the information technology field for nearly 20 years. He is the founder of HicksNewMedia, a technology consulting firm based in Northern California. He focuses on social media integration, cloud computing and yes, all things Apple (since… Full Bio