iFixit published a study to discover what hazardous chemicals are found in popular smartphones. They based their chemical analysis on the one performed by Healthystuff.org who helped them in their own study.
Using an X-ray fluorescence spectrometric analysis of the 36 devices, they assigned each a rating between 0 and 5 with the lowest score being the best. They then ranked the products in categories of chemical, component and “overall.” They tested for 12 common hazardous chemicals such as bromine, mercury and lead. Component testing consisted of a breakdown by case, screen, solder, circuit board and other vital parts. Then they did an overall assessment of each device.
While the Apple iPhone 2G received the worst score by making out with a rating of 5, the newer models show vast improvement. The iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 received scores of 2.69 and 2.75 respectively. In fact there was general improvement across the board of smartphone manufacturers.
It should be noted that even with the phones of “low concern” overall, they did have “high concern” issues. The Samsung Reclaim, for instance, still has “high concern” levels of arsenic even with an overall low score. And nearly 75% of the phones had a “high concern” proportion of copper.
The report concludes, “There is a trend of less toxics overtime, it looks like-especially for Apple. That’s good, but it’s not good enough. We can’t just pat ourselves on our backs and rest on our laurels. Many toxics remain.”