By Harry McCracken | Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 7:53 am
The New York Times is publishing an outstanding series of articles by Charles Duhigg and David Barboza on working conditions at the Chinese factories where Apple’s products are built:
More troubling, the groups say, is some suppliers’ disregard for workers’ health. Two years ago, 137 workers at an Apple supplier in eastern China were injured after they were ordered to use a poisonous chemical to clean iPhonescreens. Within seven months last year, two explosions at iPad factories, including in Chengdu, killed four people and injured 77. Before those blasts, Apple had been alerted to hazardous conditions inside the Chengdu plant, according to a Chinese group that published that warning.
Apple (which declined to comment for the Times) is not the only company that has issues like this: Foxconn, its principal supplier, assembles 40 percent of the world’s consumer electronics, period. And Apple may be moving in the right direction when it comes to doing stuff about this and discussing the situation openly. But if you own Apple products or other gadgets made in China–and you do–you owe it to yourself to read the Times’ stories.