iPhone 5: Petitions for ethical phone from Apple

Activists have launched petitions to Apple to make the iPhone 5 “ethically,” according to the BBC.

A petition on Change.org has garnered 155,580 signatures in favor of protecting the Chinese workers who make iPhones in factories. The form letter on the website calls upon Apple to “think different” so that its products are not sold “at the cost of horrible human suffering.”

Another website, called SumOfUs.org, has gathered around 50,000 signatures so far, according to NBC.

It details the suffering of Chinese factory workers, describing a hypothetical female worker: “In fact, every day, during her 12+ hour shifts, six days a week, she repetitively swipes tens of thousands of them. She spends those hours inhaling n-hexane, a potent neurotoxin used to clean iPhone glass, because it dries a few seconds faster than a safe alternative.”

Apple’s chief executive officer Tim Cook sent an email to Apple employees on Jan. 26, a day after an article by The New York Times detailed labor abuses at Apple supply factories in China.

More on GlobalPost: The iPad's human cost: Apple's suppliers are accused of maintaining unsafe work conditions

In his email, Cook said, “We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain. Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern. Any suggestion that we don't care is patently false and offensive to us.”

SumOfUs’ executive director, Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, suggested that Apple open its factories to independent audits, in addition to its recent move of joining the Fair Labor Association, reported The Washington Post.

Stinebrickner-Kauffman told the BBC, “Apple is going to have much bigger longer-term problems than paying a few extra dollars for its products if it loses its lustre with ethical consumers.” 

More on GlobalPost: Special report: Silicon Sweatshops

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