Electronic Waste

Topics: Electronic waste, Recycling, Printed circuit board Pages: 8 (1758 words) Published: May 6, 2014

In Jared Diamonds book Collapse, he talks about different issues that can hurt the environment. These issues varied from environmental damage, climate change, hostile neighbors, and friendly trade partners, but most importantly is how society responds to the problem. Today a major problem that our society is facing is Electronic Waste. With technology becoming more advanced each year the demand for new products is increasing. Though this might seem good for the people, it actually is hurting are society. With this becoming a rising issue it brings up the question, is electronic waste causing pollution and causing health issues? To answer this question first we have to know what electronic waste is.

Over the years the American way of life is changing. We are starting to rely more and more on technology and as soon as we get a product, there will be an updated product that looks better. Electronics have become a huge part of our everyday life, from TV’s, phones, iPods, GPS’s, video games, the list can go on and on. However most people don’t think of what happens to all these old electronic products when we want the next new thing. For example with video games one of the most popular sports game is Madden, but they come out with a new game each year. Fans of the game are willing to go out and buy the new one as soon as it comes out. Same with other products like new phones like the recent IPhone 5S, as soon as the IPhone 6 comes out people will want that. This is where electronic waste comes in. Electronic waste is the discarding of older products. According to EPA.gov “The electronic industry generates nearly $2 billion a year, and it’s no small wonder. Americans own nearly 3 billion electronic products.” With statistics like this, it means products are coming out faster but also becoming outdated or obsolete quicker.

In the United States technology is rising rapidly and Electronic Waste is a growing concern. As stated by Casusesinternational.com “In just 2008, we generated 3.16 million tons of e-Waste in the U.S. Of this amount, only 430,000 tons or 13.6% was recycled, according to the EPA. The rest was trashed - in landfills or incinerators.” Those statistics were just from 2008, and they have been rising since. Also in the US It was estimated that in 2010 $165 billion in consumer electronics were purchased. These types of statistics might seem high but this is just in the US alone. The United States is the biggest contributor to Electronic Waste since we are a big technology based society; however the rest of the world is also dealing with electronic waste. As stated by Tanya Lewis the author of Live Science says that “The world produced nearly 54 million tons (49 million metric tons) of used electrical and electronic products last year, and The Step Initiative forecasts that by 2017, the world will produce about 33 percent more e-waste, or 72 million tons (65 million metric tons).” Looking at these numbers can bring up questions about the future of electronic waste and how it can affect us. In fact electronic waste is already a problem causing pollution and health issues.

Electronic Waste is having a continuous effect on damaging the environment, but now in recent studies it is showing that it is affecting more than just our surroundings. Electronic waste is now being connected to inflammation and oxidative stress precursors to cardiovascular disease, DNA damage and possibly cancer. With 20-50 million tons of E-waste being generated each year there is no question that it could start causing problems. During E-waste recycling process many pollutants including persistent organic pollutant and heavy metals are released. When this happens there is a chance of it being inhaled by contamination in the air. As scary as it sounds it is true and researchers have built up data to prove their findings. The following is from a test made by Dr Fangxing Yang, of Zhejiang University and others “After exposing the cultured...

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