Apple bans use of 2 chemicals in iPhone assembly

FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, file photo, a sales person pulls out an iPhone 5s for a customer during the opening day of sales of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5C, in Hialeah, Fla. Apple Inc. reports quarterly financial results after the market closes on Tuesday, July 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)
FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, file photo, a sales person pulls out an iPhone 5s for a customer during the opening day of sales of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5C, in Hialeah, Fla. Apple Inc. reports quarterly financial results after the market closes on Tuesday, July 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) – Apple is banning the use of two potentially hazardous chemicals during in the final assembly of iPhones and iPads as part of the company’s latest commitment to protect factory workers who build its trendy devices.

The decision announced Wednesday comes five months after the activist groups China Labor Watch and Green America launched a petition drive calling on Apple Inc. to abandon the use of benzene and n-hexane in the production of iPhones.

Apple says a four-month investigation at 22 factories found no evidence that benzene and n-hexane was endangering the roughly 500,000 people who work at the plants.

The Cupertino, California company nevertheless decided the substances should no longer be allowed during the final assembly process.

Benzene can cause leukemia and n-hexane has been linked to nerve damage.

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