Apple supplier denies hazardous conditions

Apple supplier denies hazardous conditions
This file picture taken on June 7, 2010 shows Taiwanese electronics giant Hon Hai's headquarters in Tuchung in northern Taiwan

Foxconn, one of Apple's electronic product suppliers in Shenzhen city, South China, has denied claims published by a British newspaper that employees diagnosed with leukemia had been exposed to the toxic chemical benzene, The Beijing Times reported on Tuesday.

Foxconn called the Daily Mail tabloid's report a "false report" and responded with the results of an investigation.

According to Foxconn, it has verified that staff suffering from leukemia fill different roles in the factory, including managers and workers who don't have direct contact with benzene.

The company also said staff were not diagnosed simultaneously as claimed by the Mail which referred to "a cluster of leukemia deaths".

The percentage of sick employees is lower than the national average compared to a huge population, with almost 390,000 people working in the Shenzhen base.

"We will offer our humane help in many ways for our sick employees," Foxconn said.

It is not the first time the iPhone 6 producer has been reported as having a hazardous working environment following a cluster of suicides of Foxconn staff in 2010.

A study was issued by more than 100 teachers and students in 2012, saying many employees expressed concerns about the working environment saying they dealt with chemicals on a daily basis.

The Daily Mail reported on Saturday that at least 13 Foxconn employees in their 20s, based in Shenzhen, had been diagnosed with leukemia, five of whom have died. According to doctors cases of the blood cancer at such young ages are rare.

Families of sick employees said they believe the leukemia was caused by exposure to chemicals used to clean electrical panels, reported the Mail.

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