Apple’s (s aapl) drive to put out greener products will cost one of its suppliers some cash in the short term but will result in big environmental advantages over the long haul. Volex, which makes power and USB cables for the Mac maker’s mobile devices, will be switching to halogen-free power cables during the coming year.
The move is said to be caused at least in part by Apple’s “green push,” according to the London Evening Standard. Apple has taken measures during the past few years to lessen the environmental impact of its products. Those measures include reduced packaging as well as changes in the types and number of components used in its products. While the measures have been seen as effective by organizations like Greenpeace, Apple still faces criticism from environmental organizations in supplier countries, most notably China.
The presence of halogens in electronics is a danger, because when products are incinerated at the end of life, the burning halogen can release dioxins and furans into the atmosphere, which have been shown in studies to be increasing in presence in soil, ground water and people. Dioxins and furans are thought to be carcinogenic in large-enough concentrations, and in fact a 2003 study said that there is no known “threshold below which dioxin will not cause cancer.” Sounds like getting rid of them is a wise move.