Forty-four workers in Suzhou, China, are planning to sue Taiwan-based Wintek alleging they were poisoned while cleaning iPhone screens with a chemical called n-hexane, according to Stratfor Global Intelligence (

At least 62 Wintek workers have been hospitalized since August 2009 due to n-hexane poisoning, a chemical “which can cause nerve damage and sometimes paralysis, the article adds. The US Department of Labor describes n-hexane this way:

“n-Hexane is a narcotic agent; an irritant to the eyes, upper respiratory tract, and skin; and a neurotoxin. Exposure of humans to 5,000 ppm n-hexane for 10 minutes causes marked vertigo; exposure to 1,500 ppm results in headache and slight nausea [Hathaway et al. 1991; Clayton and Clayton 1982]. In industrial settings, exposure to levels exceeding 1,000 ppm have been reported to cause mild symptoms of narcosis [Hathaway et al. 1991]. Eye and upper respiratory tract irritation has been reported to occur in humans exposed to 880 ppm n-hexane for 15 minutes [Clayton and Clayton 1982]. Dermal contact with n-hexane results in immediate irritation characterized by erythema and hyperemia; exposed subjects developed blisters 5 hours following dermal exposure to n-hexane [Hathaway et al. 1991].”