1. #1
    FIREMAN 1st GRADE
    E40FDNYL35's Avatar
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    Default Computers and HAZMAT

    Try to get rid of an old computer monitor at your local landfill see what happens. This is what is in a desktop computer:
    Composition of a Desktop Personal Computer

    Source: Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC).

    Plastics Lead Aluminum Germanium Gallium Iron Tin Copper Barium Nickel Zinc Tantalum Indium Vanadium Terbium Beryllium Gold Europium Titanium Ruthenium Cobalt Palladium Manganese Silver Antinomy Bismuth Chromium Cadmium Selenium Niobium Yttrium Rhodium Platinum Mercury Arsenic Silica

    Risks related to some e-toxins found in computers

    Source: Clean Water Action Alliance, SVTC, Clean Water Fund.

    Lead - Found in cathode-ray tubes, solders. Each cathode-ray tube can contain five pounds of lead or more. Can cause damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems, blood system and kidneys in humans. Damage to a child's brain development has also been noted.

    Cadmium - Printed circuit boards, semiconductors. By 2005, a total of more than 2 million pounds will exist in discarded computers. Cadmium and cadmium compounds accumulate in the human body, in particular in kidneys it is adsorbed through respiration but is also taken up with food. Cadmium can easily be accumulated in amounts that cause symptoms of poisoning.

    Mercury - Batteries, switches. By 2005, 400,000 pounds across the US. Methylated mercury causes chronic damage to the brain.

    Chromium - Used as corrosion protection in steel. By 2005, estimated 1.2 million pounds. Chromium VI can easily pass through membranes of cells and is easily absorbed producing various toxic effects within the cells. It causes strong allergic reactions even in small concentrations. Asthmatic bronchitis is another allergic reaction linked to chromium VI. Chromium VI may also cause DNA damage.

    PVC Plastics - Cables and housings. Potential waste of 250 million pounds per year. An MCC study estimated that the largest volume of plastics used in electronics manufacturing (at 26%) was polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which creates more environmental and health hazards than most other type of plastic

    Brominated Flame Retardants - Used in electronic products as a means for reducing flammability. In computers, they are used mainly in four applications: in printed circuit boards, in components such as connectors, in plastic covers and in cables. Scientific observations indicate that Polybrominated Diphenylethers (PBDE) might act as endocrine disrupters. Research has revealed that levels of PBDEs in human breast milk are doubling every five years and this has prompted concern because of the effect of these chemicals in young animals

    These chemicals make computer recycling particularly hazardous to workers
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  2. #2
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    Default

    Oh yes. We have had special recycling rules for computers here for years. There are a couple salvage places that will take an old computer but charge you anywhere from $10-$60 to take it.

    Needless to say we have been finding more and more dumped on some deserted road someplace or in the woods. There are some truly nasty stuff in there.
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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