Phthalates, a group of chemicals mixed into plastics to increase flexibility, are regulated in California. They are hormone disrupters, a particularly nasty thing for children or women planning to have children. Products containing phthlates have to post this:
WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.
And this month the California Governor signed a law that will completely ban phthalates from products intended for children. That law goes into effect in 2009. Such products are already illegal in San Francisco.
Enter the iPhone. Earlier this month Greenpeace published an analysis of the iPhoneâ''s internal and external components, and found all sorts of nasty things, including phthalates (check out this video).
Based on that report, the Center for Environmental Health gave Apple the required 60-day notice that it will be filing a lawsuit against the company; itâ''s hoping to pressure Apple into a negotiated settlement that will reduce the use of the chemicals. Apple hasnâ''t yet responded the Center, however, Apple reiterated its promise to clean up its products by the end of 2008 by removing brominated flame retardants and polyvinyl chloride, the plastic that contains the phthalates. (Nokia products are already PVC free, Motorola and Sony Ericsson have removed brominated flame retardants from their products.)
For now, donâ''t let your kids get their hands on an iPhone.