Giles Slade, author of the forthcoming book, "Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America," writes in today's Los Angeles Times, that the toxic legacy of the industrialized worlds 'planned obsolesence, is washing up on the shores of Africa as well as Asia:
Soon millions of these gizmos will join outmoded iPods, BlackBerrys, PlayStations, MP3 players, GameBoys and cellphones in the mountain of electronic trash that threatens to poison us all.
Hyperbole? Hardly. The waste from electronic devices contains hazardous ingredients classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as "permanent biological toxins," including lead, cadmium, barium, beryllium, mercury and brominated flame retardants. When burned, many release dioxins. In landfills, they seep into the groundwater and never break down.
Between now and 2009 — in addition to all of our portable electronic toys — more than 550 million computers and analog TVs will be thrown away in the continental United States. Ugly as it sounds, the U.S. currently has no way to deal with the toxins contained in this cyber-trash. We need to send it elsewhere. We are already sending it there.
While California has enacted some policies requiring producers and retailers to take some responsibility for end-of-life electronics, the state annually disposes of over 500,000 tons of roxic consumer electronics. Californians Against Waste is sponsoring a package of legislation aimed at addressing the growing e-waste problem. you can suport this effort by Sending an e-mail to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today and urging him to support CAW's E-waste recycling proposals.