Recycled 'E-Waste' Can Be Toxic

Old TVs, PCs can pollute developing countries
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 7, 2008 5:59 AM CDT
A software firm president unloads a truck full of old computer equipment Nov. 15, 2007 during an e-cycling event near the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.    (AP Photo/Dawn Villella)
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(Newser) – Recycling old computers, cell phones, and TVs may sound like a good idea—but be sure you know the destination before you dump such material, USA Today advises. While such “e-waste” recycling programs are springing up everywhere these days, some pose a threat. Often, the materials end up in developing nations, spreading toxins through the air and water.

In some cases, recycling groups ensure the e-waste is properly sorted and put to new uses. But in other situations, brokers sell the materials to developing countries hoping to find precious metals among the piles. Leftover toxins can harm the laborers who explore the waste and others exposed to the chemicals. “People really should ask questions about where the material is going,” warned an expert.