How toxic is the chemical make-up of your mobile? Newer models fare better, claims iFixit study

3 Oct 2012

How the iPhone 5 fares in iFixit's and's analysis

Just how exposed are we to hazardous chemicals when using our mobile phones? Repair firm iFixit teamed up with to analyse the chemical make-up of 36 mobile phones. And it seems there are less toxic chemicals in newer smartphone models.

Via an X-ray fluorescence spectrometric analysis of components in these phones, iFixit and found that, in general, today’s phones contain fewer toxic chemicals than in the past. scored each of the 36 phones from 0 to 5, with 0 representing the fewest toxic chemicals. Phones that were rated about 4 were released before 2010, while every phone that scored less than 3 was released in 2010 or later.

As for Apple, the study claims the iPhone has much improved since its early models. The iPhone 2G ranked worst of all phones on the list, whereas the iPhone 4S and 5 are both among the best.

According to iFixit and, Samsung is the best-ranked company overall on the list, as the Captivate, Evergreen and Reclaim are three of the best-ranked phones.

Of the 36 phones, almost 70pc had a proportion of copper, which the study claims is “high concern”.

Six devices came in as being of “low concern” by overall ranking, as they apparently had fewer toxic chemicals. These phones were the Motorola Citrus, LG Remarq, Samsung Captivate, Samsung Evergreen and the iPhone 5.

Conversely, six devices were ranked as being of “high concern”, according to the study. These were the Palm Treo 750, BlackBerry Storm 9530, Nokia N95, Motorola MOTO W233 Renew, Palm m125 and iPhone 2G.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic