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The Most Dangerous Electronics

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October 24, 2015
closeup of the inside of a computer fan

While people may be aware of the importance of recycling e-waste, some may not be aware of the hazardous materials that are found in e-waste. These dangerous materials lead to problems for the environment as well as for human health. Some of the hazardous substances that are found in different types of e-waste include mercury, zinc, lead, and arsenic to name a few. Exposure to these substances can result in skin disease, lung cancer, vomiting, convulsions, fatigue, brain damage, liver damage, and sometimes even death. These dangerous materials are found in everyday objects. For example, mercury is found in fluorescent lamps that provide the backlighting in LCD screens. Zinc, as well as lead, can be found in CRT screens. Lead is also found in batteries and printed wiring boards.

Often time’s e-waste is thrown away and ends up in landfills. This means that these toxic materials can end up in the environment after having seeped out into the ground where it can eventually get into water supplies. A computer, for example, a commonly thrown out item has several hazardous materials in it such as mercury, lead, cadmium, beryllium, polyvinyl chloride, BFR, and phosphor compounds. Exposure to these substances can lead to brain swelling, heart damage, liver and spleen damage, muscle weakness, and lung damage among other things. To avoid these substances leaking out into the environment, e-waste should be recycled.

Every year, the United States produces up to 50 million tons of e-waste. Out of this, only 20-25% is recycled. Recycling your e-waste is a natural step to take to eliminate this growing problem. All you have to do is gather your old items and take them to a certified e-waste recycling facility like West Coast Recycler. Many stores such as Staples or Office depot even have recycling drop off centers to make things easier. Contact your local branch today for more information.

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