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Chinese Factory Workers Write to Steve Jobs

Many of our computers and electronic gadgets are possible thanks to the production facilities in China. The focus on production capacity sometimes leads to neglect for the conditions that human beings must endure just to make the latest piece of technology.

Now several workers from Wintek, which make touch screens for Apple devices, has written a letter to Steve Jobs regarding the hardships they had to endure, particularly with regards to the use of hexyl hydride, also called n-hexane, from May 2008 to August 2009.

According to Reuters, part of the letter read: "This is a killer, a killer that strikes invisibly. … From when hexyl hydride was used, monthly profits at Apple and Wintek have gone up by tens of millions every month, the accumulated outcome of workers' lives and health."

Wintek used n-hexane in the production of touch-panels, but has since stopped when it found out that it was making its workers ill. Now the plant has switched back to alcohol, which achieves the same result but slower.

It's not immediately clear what the workers are hoping to achieve by sending an English version of the letter to Apple. One technician said, "I hope Apple can respect our labor and our dignity. I hope they can stand up and apologize to us," while another worker explained, "We are unable to cope with the medical costs of treatment in the future."

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.