Apple's labor-practices report on its overseas suppliers has been released, and it's not very good. Highlights include:
- Apple officially acknowledged that 137 workers at one of its Chinese suppliers "suffered adverse health effects" due to exposure to n-hexane, a cleaning agent regulated by the EPA as a potential carcinogen and which is also a long-term neurotoxin.
- Apple has a cap of a 60-hour, 6-day work week, "deemed excessive" in the US since the 1880s; yet only 32% of the Apple supplier facilities audited are in compliance with even that. (Apple's not alone in that; the NYTimes has reported that companies including Wal-Mart, Disney and Dell are using suppliers that force their workers to work 16-hour days.)
- Ten of the audited Apple suppliers use child labor.
- One supplier, Foxconn, had 13 suicides or attempts in a five-month period; one suicide was a worker who had worked 286 hours the month before, including 112 hours of overtime (according to CNet, that's three times the legal overtime limit), and earned less than $300.
Apple reported $6 billion in profits for last year. Apple reportedly has 4% of the world cell phone market, and 50% of its total profits.