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Tuesday, 20 March 2012

How E-Waste Effects Us All

Prior to buying a TV, music player, or wireless phone do you think about where these items will go after you no longer use or need them? Consumer electronic components produce nearly 3 million tons of commercial and electronic, or e-waste, annually as consumers throw away outdated or broken items. It is necessary to find out about the effects of e-waste on our environment and health, and the end result when it is thrown out.

Due to spotty enforcement of e-waste export laws and the difficulties and cost in recycling electronics, huge amounts of used electronics have been shipped to China, Kenya, and India. Relaxed ecological requirements and job conditions make e-waste disposal more lucrative, but also more dangerous in those nations. Be careful of e-waste. Facilities exist that specialize in handling this dangerous material properly.

E-waste can be a very valuable source of secondary raw materials if the electronics are handled and sorted correctly. But when they are not properly handled, they contribute heavily to toxins and carcinogens in our environment. The universal problem has been compounded by fast growing technological advances, cheap starting cost, and shrewdly schemed obsolescence. Serious environmental and health issues have arisen due to careless burning, ungoverned and often unsafe disassembly, and hazardous disposal activities.

The waste that is left over from consumer electronics consists of PCB's or polychlorinated biphenyls, lead, mercury, and cadmium. Not only are they very toxic, it has been shown through studies that the PCB's may cause cancer. Our soil and water may become contaminated, which would eventually enter our food chain, if these items are not properly disposed of. When they are burned, toxic fumes are given off, causing both ozone depletion and health problems through inhalation. Cells can be damaged and kidney failure can occur when the central nervous system is affected by mercury, lead or cadmium.

Remember this from now on whenever you are carelessly trashing dead batteries or an obsolete electronic device. Disposing of items the proper way through an e-waste recycler can help our environment be saved. Due to the problems caused to our environment and our health, the disposal process of consumer electronics needs to be carefully thought out.

(Source: Vic Metten)

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