Toxins in Computers

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Revision as of 21:58, 9 December 2008 by imported>Afinesmith (Cadmium)
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For more detailed information click on the toxin.

  • Barium (CRT): Intestinal illness, muscular weakness

Beryllium

  • (electronics): Can damge bones, cause cancer

Found in:

  • Springs, relays, clips and connections on boards where flexibility in copper is needed
  • copper-beryllium alloy (typically 98% copper, 2% beryllium)

Impacts:
Beryllium = known human carcinogen
Beryllium dust (from shredding) & fumes (from high temp metal refining processes) can cause berylliosis with permanent lung scarring, and can be fatal

Cadmium

  • (batteries and circuit boards): Kidney, liver, bone, and blood damage

Found in:

  • Some contacts, switches
  • Rechargeable nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries, e.g. in laptops
  • Used as a stabilizer in some PVC formulations, e.g. wire insulation
  • On some circuit boards in plated contacts and switches
  • Cadmium sulphide used in older CRTs’ phosphors coating

Impacts:

  • Highly toxic to plants, animals and humans, causing kidney and bone damage at low levels, heart disease, & hypertension.
  • Known human carcinogen.
  • Bioaccumulative.



  • Hexavalent chromium (steel): liver, kidney, nerve tissues
  • Lead (CRT, circuit boards): Vascular and kidney disease, brain disorders in young children
  • Mercury (LCD, flat panel displays, batteries): kidney damage
  • Phosphorus (CRT): skin, eye, and stomach irritation
  • Brominated flame retardants (plastics, cables, CRTs): endocrine disruptor, neurotoxin
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)

The following are links to info about e-waste: