The Center for Environmental Health has given Apple 60 days' legal notice following a report by environmental group Greenpeace, that found hazardous materials in Apple's iPhone.
The 60 day notice period is required by California law before a lawsuit is launched.
The Greenpeace tests revealed chemicals that included "phthalates" in the vinyl plastic earphone wiring at levels that are prohibited in young children's toys in San Francisco and the European Union (EU).
Apple stressed its existing focus on the environment: "Like all Apple products worldwide, iPhone complies with RoHS [Restriction of Hazardous Substances], the world’s toughest restrictions on toxic substances in electronics,” an Apple spokesperson, told Macworld. “As we have said, Apple will voluntarily eliminate the use of PVC and BFRs by the end of 2008.”
Under California's Proposition 65 law, products that can expose consumers to phthaltes or other chemicals that are reproductive toxins or carcinogens must carry a warning label, according to the Center for Environmental Health.
"There is no reason to have these potentially hazardous chemicals in iPhones," said Michael Green, executive director of Center for Environmental Health. "We expect Apple to reformulate their products to make them safer from cradle to grave, so they don't pose a threat to consumers, workers or the environment."
The Center for Environmental Health wants Apple to clearly label the iPhone saying that it contains phthaltes, but ultimately it wants the company to get rid of them altogether.
"In general what we try to do is encourage the manufacturers through a negotiated settlement to reduce the use of these chemicals," Caroline Cox, a spokeswoman for the Center for Environmental Health, told Macworld. "That would be our goal with Apple."