Author(s): LaDou J, Lovegrove S
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Abstract Electronics equipment waste ("e-waste") includes discarded computers, computer monitors, television sets, and cell phones. Less than 10\% of e-waste is currently recycled. The United States and other developed countries export e-waste primarily to Asia, knowing it carries a real harm to the poor communities where it will be discarded. A 2006 directive bans the use of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, and certain brominated flame retardants in most electronics products sold in the EU. A similar directive facilitates the development and design of clean electronics products with longer lifespans that are safe and easy to repair, upgrade, and recycle, and will not expose workers and the environment to hazardous chemicals. These useful approaches apply only regionally and cover only a fraction of the hazardous substances used in electronics manufacture, however. There is an urgent need for manufacturers of electronics products to take responsibility for their products from production to end-of-life, and for much tighter controls both on the transboundary movement of e-waste and on the manner in which it is recycled. Manufacturers must develop clean products with longer lifespans that are safe and easy to repair, upgrade, and recycle and will not expose workers and the environment to hazardous chemicals.
This article was published in Int J Occup Environ Health
and referenced in International Journal of Waste Resources