A recent chemical analysis has found that there are less toxic chemicals in new smartphones than ever, meaning that handsets are becoming safer and more environmentally friendly.

The analysis, conducted by iFixit and HealthyStuff.org, checked the chemical contents of 36 mobile phone models, including Apple’s new iPhone 5, using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry.

“In general, the results are hopeful,” notes iFixit. “Newer phones are being made with fewer hazardous chemicals: every phone that was ranked of “high concern” was released before 2010. The newest phones, including the iPhone 5, are some of the best. Nevertheless, many toxics remain.”

The phones have been ranked on a scale of 0-5, which 0 being the best. Six of the 36 tested were ranked as ‘low concern’. These include the iPhone 4S, with a rating of 2.69 and the iPhone 5, which is rated 2.75. The Samsung Galaxy SIII is rated 2.99, causing it to fall into the ‘medium concern’ category.

“As Apple is the biggest company in the world, we expect them to set the bar high when it comes environmental responsibility – especially since they claim to make “the most environmentally responsible products in our industry.”,” writes iFixit.

“The HealthyStuff analysis demonstrates that Apple is actively reducing toxic chemicals in their products,” the report continues. “The iPhone has undergone a steady, gradual toxic chemical improvement in the last five years: the iPhone 2G received the worst overall score of all ranked phones, but the iPhone 4 and 5 are now among the top ten per cent of smartphones.”

However, despite the steady improvement, “it’s not good enough,” writes iFixit. “The chemicals inside phones have a serious and far-reaching global impact.”

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