Apple parts maker confirms workers poisoning

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Taiwanese manufacturer Wintek, the manufacturer that makes LCD screens and components for Apple and Nokia, has confirmed that more of its workers in China have become ill after being exposed to chemicals than it previously reported.

According to Global Post, 62 of the employees have became ill after a report that ran on state-controlled media – 15 more than it was reported – that were exposed to chemicals last summer; with 41 of those affected still being hospitalised, according to a spokesman in Taiwan. The spokesman told Global Post that the newest cases of poisoning emerged through its health testing as symptoms tend to appear months after the initial exposure.

The employees were exposed to a chemical known as hexane, and caused nerve and muscle damage to the exposed workers when they used it to clean touchscreens. Wintek has since stopped using the chemical.

While Apple has made no comment, since they tend to be secretive with its manufacturers, Nokia told the Guardian that they are aware of the allegations and have put in a series of corrective measures.

“We became aware of the allegations regarding the use of n-hexane in July 2009 and started our investigation immediately.” The Finnish mobile maker also said that the chemical was not used on its production lines.

“Nokia firmly believes that all employees have the right to ethical and legal treatment. The health, safety and wellbeing of our employees are vital to the success of our business,” it added,