French newspaper Liberation is asking whether Apple has a chemically-related problem with their MacBook Pro range, as several owners have reported strong-smelling, potentially toxic fumes emitted from their laptops. They quote Greenpeace, who have had the MacBook Pros in for testing with Inéris, France’s national institute covering the industrial environment, and identified “seven volatile organic contaminants”, including benzene which has been linked, over time, with leukaemia.
“[The MacBook Pro] stinks to high heaven. It’s a plastic-burning type smell, seems almost toxic, the smell coming out the back fan. I have to shut it down and leave the room every few hours to air it out, it’s that bad. I’ve heard about the “new mac smell” and had a tiny taste of it with a new macbook last summer, but this is different — it’s intense, nauseating, and makes you feel funny. Friends and neighbors have agreed: this can’t be good” MacRumors comment
Apple has apparently replaced some of the laptops when owners have complained, but these can often demonstrate the same chemical smell. The company has made no official comment about the situation, aside from telling Liberation “our engineers are working on the problem”.
Similar complaints have been made in the US, the UK and Germany. Some users have claimed that their MacBooks were made in China, but this has not been confirmed as a consistency across all the incidences.