From SafeMinds: E-Waste, A Rapidly Growing Problem
Posted Nov 26 2009 12:00am
10 Sources of Mercury You Can Do Something About
E-Waste, A Rapidly Growing Problem
Before you upgrade your computer, buy a new cell phone or indulge in that enormous HDTV, think twice. The current trend towards the shorter useful lifespan of electronic hardware with each generation of technological advances is creating a massive amount of waste and that waste is not always being handled responsibly. The average useful lifespan of a computer was once 5 years, but that lifespan is now down to about 2 years. Electronic waste can contain lead, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, and mercury along with a host of other toxins so it is important that we all consider reusing, donating and recycling as part of our responsibility as owners and users of these products.
E-waste is defined as electronic waste and includes computers, televisions, cell phones, printers, PDAs, calculators, fax machines, DVD players, VCRs, radios, answering machines and similar products. The term EEE (electric and electronic equipment) overlaps with e-waste and includes larger appliances as well. While lead in e-waste has been much more carefully studied and the average amount of mercury per unit of e-waste may be “low” (2-10mg), the staggering demand for electronics worldwide makes mercury from e-waste a significant problem. In 1999, a report to the European Parliament estimated that 22% of mercury consumption worldwide is used in electronics.