UPDATE: We did it! We hit 120,000 signers. Can we get to 150,000 now?

Background Information

Every day, tens of millions of people will swipe the screens of their iPhones to unlock them.

On the other side of the world, a young girl is also swiping those screens. In fact, every day, during her 12+ hour shifts, six days a week, she repetitively swipes tens of thousands of them. She spends those hours inhaling potentially toxic chemicals that are never disclosed to her — including, until recently, n-hexane, a chemical linked to persistant nerve damage, because it dried a few seconds faster than a safe alternative.

Sound like a nightmare? According to recent reports, scenarios like this have been all too real in Apple’s Chinese supply chain.

Right now we have a huge opportunity as ethical consumers: The launch of the iPhone 5 later this year will be new Apple CEO Tim Cook’s first big product rollout, and he can’t afford for anything to go wrong — including negative publicity around how Apple’s suppliers, like Foxconn, treat their workers. That’s why we’re launching a campaign this week to get Apple to overhaul the way its suppliers treat their workers in time for the launch of the iPhone 5.

In many cases, people literally are dying while making Apple products. Reporters have documented cases of deadly explosions at iPad factories, and repeated instances of employees dying of exhaustion after working 34-hour continuous shifts and repeated 60-hour weeks. In some of the factories Apple contracts with, so many employees have attempted suicide that management installed nets to prevent employees from dying while jumping off building ledges.

Can Apple do this? Absolutely. Apple is the richest company in the world, posting a record-breaking profit margin for the last quarter of 44.1%. They’re sitting on $100 billion in cash. According to an anonymous Apple executive quoted in the New York Times, all Apple has to do is demand it, and it’ll happen – “Suppliers would change everything tomorrow if Apple told them they didn’t have another choice.”

Use the form to the right to sign the petition to Apple telling them to make the iPhone 5 ethically.

Update (Feb 24th) on the use n-hexane and rubbing alcohol in Apple’s manufacturing processes.

Update (March 16) on the retraction of the This American Life story “Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory.