Top Electronics Firms Eradicate Bromine, Chlorine

New York, USA and Gothenburg, Sweden:

Two environmental organizations, ChemSec and Clean Production Action, announced a new research report that focuses on leading electronics companies moving away from chemicals that can lead to serious health and environmental problems.

The report "Greening Consumer Electronics: Moving Away from Bromine and Chlorine" features seven companies who have engineered environmental solutions that negate the need for most—or in some cases all—uses of brominated and chlorinated chemicals. The seven companies are Apple (US), Sony Ericsson (UK), Seagate (US), DSM Engineering Plastics (Netherlands), Nan Ya (Taiwan), Indium (US), and Silicon Storage Technology (US).

"These seven companies demonstrate that there are less toxic and still cost-effective alternatives to substances of high concern that do not compromise performance or reliability," says CPA project director Alexandra McPherson. "They are well-positioned to gain competitive advantage in a marketplace and regulatory environment increasingly sensitive to the use of toxic chemicals in consumer products.”

High-volume uses of bromine and chlorine in flame-retardant and plastic resin applications, such as brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), gained worldwide attention when scientific studies demonstrated their link to the formation of highly toxic dioxin compounds. Dioxin, a potent human carcinogen that’s toxic in very low amounts, along with other problematic compounds, are unintentionally released into the environment during the burning and smelting of electronic waste.

The current recycling and waste infrastructure to safely reuse and recycle obsolete equipment is insufficient for the fastest growing waste stream in the world. Furthermore, much of the waste is increasingly shipped to developing countries with even less capacity for appropriate waste management. Many studies document the accumulation of these widespread pollutants in air, water, soil, and sediment, and they’re increasing ingestion by humans and animals.

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