Computers … from beyond the Grave

Today's Salon has a disturbing feature titled Where computers go to die — and kill looking at what happens to computer equipment (and the toxic materials it contains) after we're done with it.

…In Taizhou's outdoor workshops, people bang apart the computers and toss bits of metal into brick furnaces that look like chimneys. Split open, the electronics release a stew of toxic materials — among them beryllium, cadmium, lead, mercury and flame retardants…

…traveling the seas in the shadows of legitimate high-tech exports are huge containers that may hold as many as 1,000 used computers…

…If there's no charge or prices are extremely low, especially for monitors, chances are high equipment is being recycled using cheap labor or by less than optimum methods…

…The U.S. may be one of the world's biggest consumers of high-tech electronics, but unlike the European Union or Japan, the U.S. has no national system for handling e-waste…

 

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