iPhone 5 Less Toxic than Samsung Galaxy S III

by | Oct 5, 2012

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Apple’s recently-released iPhone 5 contains smaller amounts of toxic chemicals than its main smartphone rival the Samsung Galaxy S III, according to research by ifixit.org.

In the study, which was conducted with the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center in conjunction with ifixit.com and HealthyStuff.org, researchers pulled 36 phones apart and put their components through an X-ray fluorescence spectrometry process that determines an objects chemical make up, ifixit.org says.

Phones were then given three scores: for the chemicals used, each component and an overall score. Ratings were given between zero and five, with a lower score being more green.

The much-hyped new iPhone scored a 2.69 in the study putting it in the “low concern” category. Nearly all the other phones in that category are specifically marketed as green phones, ifixit.org says. Samsung’s Galaxy S III scored 2.99 placing it in the “medium concern category.”

The least toxic cell phone studied was the Motorola Citrus, which scored 2.56. The most toxic phone in the study was the iPhone 2G with a rating of 5. That phone falls in the “high concern” category.

Analysis by HealthStuff.org shows that Apple is actively reducing the amount of toxic chemicals in their products, ifixt says.

“The iPhone has undergone a steady, gradual toxic chemical improvement in the last five years: the iPhone 2G received the worst overall score of all ranked phones, but the iPhone 4 and 5 are now among the top ten percent of phones,” the web site said.

The web site highlight’s Samsung as a manufacturer where toxicity is not consistent across its product lines. The company makes three of the best ranked phones in terms of toxicity: the Captivate, Evergreen, and Reclaim. But it also makes the SCH-U140 which scored 4.18 – the worst score of any phone in the “medium concern” category.

In July, AT&T launched an eco-ratings system in stores, that allows customers to compare cell phones’ environmental impacts.

The rating system – which has been developed in collaboration with sustainable business strategists BSR – rates mobile devices on 15 specific criteria in five categories: hazardous substances, environmentally preferable materials, product energy efficiency, end of life take-back and environmentally responsible manufacturing.

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