In 2005 there were approximately one billion personal computers
and over a billion cell phones
in use worldwide.
The world generates twenty to fifty million metric tons of e-waste each year
, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. Discarded electronics
account for approximately 70 percent of heavy metals
and 40 percent of the lead found in U.S. landfills
according to a 2001 EPA report. 250 million computers
are expected to become obsolete between 2007 and 2008
and at least 200 million televisions will be discarded between 2003 and 2010.
Between 1992 and 2002, U.S. sales of consumer electronics
, including PCs, quadrupled
. 3 billion units
of consumer electronics will become potential scrap
between 2003 and 2010. 95 percent
of American consumers do not know
and 58 percent are not aware of an electronics recycling program in their community.
Between two and four million tons of e-waste
from the United States wind up overseas each year for low-tech recycling.
Hundreds of thousands
The Pollution and its Effect
of people use municipal wells
for drinking water that are within 3 miles of an EPA Superfund
site in Silicon Valley.
large high-tech electronics and semiconductor manufacturer
that began operations in the 1970s or earlier
has a Superfund site in its history. Alan and Donna Turnbull
and hundreds of their neighbors in Endicott, NY
live in homes where the air they breathe has been contaminated
by a chemical used to make semiconductors and which is considered a probable carcinogen
. A twenty-month-old boy
in Oakland, California, was found to have levels of PBDEs (a flame retardant commonly used in consumer electronics) in his blood nearly three times higher than those at which scientists begin to see behavioral changes in lab rats