First Apple dismissed Greenpeace's claims, saying they are still in the process of eliminating PVC and brominated flame retardants from their products. Now an electronics industry
analyst group says that Greenpeace study is not only alarmist, since all substances are approved for use by EU regulatory requirements (the strongest in the world) but also has a faulty methodology:
The Greenpeace report does not say which BFRs are present in the iPhone because it does not know. As the report notes, the analytical equipment used for their report can only detect the presence of an element, such as bromine, but not specific chemicals. Therefore, the report speculates about what substances might be present, and raises an alarm without any basis for doing so.
Greenpeace claimed they used XRF (X-Ray Fluorescence spectrometry) to analyze the contents of the iPhone, but apparently this method can only detect basic elements on the components' surfaces "rather than specific chemicals in specific concentrations."
The report also claims that Greenpeace fails to highlight the fact that, right now, there are no alternatives as effective as BFRs to prevent fires in consumer electronics. Also, according to the EMSnow article, since the iPhone complies with all European Union legislation, "the BFR most likely used in the iPhone is actually a reactive—i.e. it reacts with other substances to form a plastic and, once reacted, it is also no longer available to the environment."
While the article, coming from the industry, is as impartial as the Greenpeace Corporation's report, and only deals with bromine but not the rest of the allegedly hazardous substances present in the iPhone (and other cellphones) according to Greenpeace, it raises reasonable concerns over the organization's research methodology. [EMSnow]