Dying for an iPhone: Inside the factories that produce Apple’s bestselling product

Book review: Jenny Chan, Mark Selden and Pun Ngai investigate perilous working conditions

Foxconn iPhone factories in China: workers toil long hours and those polishing the devices may be exposed to dangerous chemicals and aluminium particulates. Photograph: Bobby Yip

Foxconn iPhone factories in China: workers toil long hours and those polishing the devices may be exposed to dangerous chemicals and aluminium particulates. Photograph: Bobby Yip

The explosion in consumer electronics, particularly smartphones and tablets, over the past 15 years has produced a new frontier in the battle against labour and humanitarian abuse in commercial supply lines. The tech industry’s demand for metals extracted from ores such as coltan, gold and cassiterite mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has long fuelled the conflict there.

Meanwhile, tales of abuse dog the flagship products of tech giants such as Apple, Panasonic and Samsung just as they did clothing brands in previous decades.

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