Electronic Waste

Topics: Printed circuit board, Recycling, Integrated circuit Pages: 3 (1008 words) Published: February 5, 2013
Electronic Waste
The mishandling of electronic waste also referred to as E-Waste, has lasting environment and social impacts on underdeveloped and struggling countries that become dumping grounds for unwanted and nonworking electrical and electronic components and devices. Many of the electronic-waste recycling facilities are located in South and East Asia. E-waste is a source of electronic parts and valuable metals for reuse. This industry is only profitable in Asia, because laborers work for very low wages. The problem generally exists in developing countries often in violation of the international law. The causes of the problem are the materials that make up electronic devices. Many of these devices contain heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium and beryllium and hazardous chemicals. In China for instance, which is a popular destination for e-waste from the US and Europe. Old electronics are dismantled by hand and the toxic waste is dumped in streams and fields. In the areas where this practice is played out the groundwater is undrinkable because of this reason. The extraction of the precious metal from electronic equipment is used done by smelting, which is open air burning of the materials to get the useful metals. This method of open air burning of computer waste release large amounts of toxic fumes into the air, which are harmful to health when inhaled. This puts the workers in great danger as well as the people in neighboring villages or towns that may be down-wind of the waste yard.

The dangers of the elements found in electronic equipment are relatively high levels of toxic materials such as lead, barium, cadmium, and mercury. These materials are to be considered hazardous when disposed. Breathing cadmium can cause severe damage to the lungs. Lead attacks the nervous system in both adults and children. If swallowed, lead will cause blood anemia, kidney damage, and even brain damage that could be severe enough to kill a child....
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