Not an old-school problem anymore, lead is a serious side effect of e-waste. Once linked to serious birth defects and developmental delays and identified primarily in old paint, lead is dreaded and for good reason. One of the most toxic elements in the environment, lead, is making a resurgence in our e-waste products.
The Lead Issue
Lead has been a problem since ancient times – even the Romans recorded problems with exposure to lead. Unfortunately, nearly all electronic devices contain lead at some level. In fact, recent studies from the University of Florida reveal lead levels in 12 popular electronics that exceed the EPA’s threshold for concentrations that are deemed “hazardous.”
Why Is E-Waste Lead So Dangerous?
It is hazardous for a good reason. While particularly poisonous to children, lead can have far reaching and permanent effects. Lead exposure doesn’t always leave a trace or symptom; but the effects are no less deadly. Nerve damage, poor muscle control, hearing and vision impairment and even high blood pressure have been linked to lead exposure. Children, who have higher lead exposures than adults do, often suffer irreversible developmental and neurological damage.
The Real Lead Levels
Think your e-waste doesn’t have lead? Think again. Here are just a few of the popular trashed products that leach lead into the environment: remote controls, computer monitors, televisions, printers, cellular phones, computer mice and keyboards and smoke alarms. Some of these are small products, but they add up to a cumulative effect.
Fortunately, there are easy ways to deal with your e-waste, including dealing with a reputable e-waste removal business. If your products cannot be donated (and some estimates say as much as 25% of e-waste in landfills are perfectly functioning), then it should be recycled.
Electronic Recycling Center in San Diego
Dealing with the possibilities of lead in our e-waste should claim a top spot for our attention. Giving more attention to how consumers and businesses process their e-waste can help reduce this issue, particular as some people have to make the difficult decision as to what to recycle. Perhaps knowing the ramifications of not recycling e-waste may help others make that decision. At the breathtaking speed with which we are discarding our electronics, this is a critical issue.