This is part 3 of our 4 Part series on “Why You Should Care About Recycling Your Electronics”
We Americans love to buy the newest electronic gadgets but did you know that many times there are over 1,000 materials used in creating these devices. For example, the materials that are used to manufacture computers and components of the computer, like semiconductor chips, circuit boards and disk drives, include chlorinated solvents, brominated flame retardants (BFR’s), PVC, heavy metals, plastics and gases.
Older TV’s and CRT monitor’s (non-flat screen) contain 4 to 8 pounds of lead. Newer flat panel TVs and monitors contain less lead, but use mercury lamps. “About 40% of the heavy metals, including lead, mercury and cadmium, in landfills come from electronic equipment discards” according to the Electronics Take Bake Coalition.
Ok, “so what” you may be asking yourself? Let’s take a look at what are some of the health risks associated with the toxins.
1. Lead- Most people know that exposure to lead is bad and that it has been banned from use in many consumer products, but here’s a refresher on why; lead exposure causes brain damage in children, severe nervous system impairments, infertility, birth defects, and cause Heart and Kidney issues. According to UNEP, United Nations Environment Programme, report on Lead Exposure, “There is no threshold for safe exposure”, meaning any exposure could cause a serious irreversible health threat.
2. Mercury-Is toxic even in smallest amounts, only 1/70th of a teaspoon of mercury can contaminate 20 acres of a lake, making the fish unfit to eat. Mercury causes brain and kidney damage and can be passed on through breast milk.
3. Cadmium-Can accumulates in the body over time and poisons the Kidneys.
4. BFRs (Brominated flame retardants)- are similar to PCB’s in their molecular structure. The long term effects of BFR exposure in human is still under investigation, but according to an EPA report on the Health Effects of BFRs has show to cause cognitive, reproductive and thyroid issues, as well, as to cause diabetes in animal studies. This study also showed a staggering increase of BFRs in human biological samples.
By recycling your electronics you are helping to properly dispose of these harmful toxins and reduce the risk of them polluting the soil, air and water. If your still questioning, why electronics recycling is important, maybe ask yourself would you want any of these chemicals leaching into water table that pumps water into your home and to your family?
An electronics recycling charity event will be held in Downtown Ocala, FL on March 30th, 2011 for anyone in the Ocala, Gainesville and Central Florida area who wants to do the right thing and help raise money for a local charity.