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Greenpeace: iPhone crit makes for more headlines

And the bromine business fights back

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Eco-oriented non-governmental organisation Greenpeace has tacitly admitted it's been focusing its criticism of the mobile phone industry on Apple's iPhone because it gets more headlines.

Nothing wrong with that per se. As a campaigner, Greenpeace should be seeking the best opportunities to get its message across. Unless, as Register Hardware noted a week ago, it's in danger of obscuring a broader problem by sniping at a single, high-profile target.

Greenpeace's admission comes in an email the organisation sent to blog Gizmodo:

"If you think we just protest against Apple then look out for soon a report covering a wide range of manufacturers as we have done in 2006. While it might not make as many headlines as the iPhone it doesn't mean that we are not focusing on all manufacturers to remove toxic chemicals from their products." [our italics]

That was our point about the original Greenpeace report highlighting the presence of nasty chemicals in the iPhone: where was the analysis comparing the Apple handset to devices from Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and others?

Greenpeace's own blog, in response to our original article, maintains that's exactly what it was:

"Today the IT website 'Register Hardware' published this headline "Greenpeace admits iPhone 'compliant' with Euro chemicals rules" claiming the most important fact is Apple complies with minimum legal requirements like RoHS.

"Of course they do - they have to, but this was not the purpose of our report. Our report was comparing if Apple was making progress compared to other mobile phone makers."

Except... er... it didn't. There was no information at all on handset makers other than Apple in the 12-page PDF report issued by the NGO.

We look forward to Greenpeace's revised all-vendor report. If Apple - or anyone else, for that matter - is slacking on this important matter, we'll point it out. But we're not going to slam a company for meeting its legal requirements and working according to its own deadlines. If Apple hasn't, as it has promised to do, eliminated PVCs and brominated fire-retardant (BFR) materials from its products by the end of 2008, we'll lambast it accordingly.

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