In today's high paced modern world, technology is moving faster and faster and boosting the speed of our everyday lives. Every eight months there is a new model of some type of technological device reaching the market and the old is being discarded as it is unable to keep up with our fast paced society. Where have the millions of old, unwanted computers and other electronics gone? Many have suspected, that relatively few old PC's are being recycled and that most are stored in warehouses, basements, and closets or have met there end in municipal landfills or incinerators. In recent years a great deal of attention has been devoted to the environmental impact of computers and other electronic equipment as these items pose a massive problem for municipal landfills and hazardous effects to human life.
Users' manuals can be a pain to read, nevertheless are pretty handy, they cover most of everything we need to know about newly purchased equipment. What is not covered in the users' manual are the toxic chemicals and heavy metals that go into computers and other electronic devices, nor the waste computer-manufacturing generates. Of the approximately one thousand different substances included in a typical PC, every computer contains five to eight pounds of lead. Exposure to lead and other toxic ingredients, such as mercury, cadmium, brominated flame retardants, and some plastics, may stun brain development, disrupt hormone functions, cause cancer, or affect reproduction (Slone, 2000).
Manufacturers combine lead; the leading toxic material found in electronic equipment, with tin to form solder, which is used in the production of circuit boards found inside electronic products. Lead is highly toxic and can harm children and developing fetuses, even at low levels of exposure. Brominated flame retardants, used in circuit boards and plastic casing, do not break down easily and build up in the environment. Long term... [continues]
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