The Hidden Dangers of E-Waste
It is widely accepted now that there are legal regulations and frameworks in place for the proper processing of e-waste, but all too often these are misunderstood as being only applicable for data-bearing equipment. The dangers of e-waste are broad and varied – as an environmental advocate, Procurri aims to highlight these to bring awareness to why businesses should always make the most informed and responsible choices possible when it comes to procuring ITAD & Lifecycle Services.
Procurri’s ITAD & Lifecycle Services team are experts in their field and operates from purpose-built specialist facilities. Their expertise and the tools available to them allow all hardware processed in a Procurri facility to be recycled, reused, or refurbished without risk of pollution, injury, or contamination. Such processing is carried out to legal standards and in most cases, far exceeds the legal responsibility required.
Pollution to the Environment
Where hardware is dumped or ITAD & Lifecycle Services facilities are run without proper care or procedures, one of the major dangers of e-waste processing is polluting the environment around it (furthering the risk of contamination to those around).
This includes the release of toxic mercury vapor into the air due to the improper dismantling of devices, which can impact air, water, and the earth. Inappropriate incineration of equipment can release a myriad of dangerous toxins into the air, with open burning releasing hydrocarbons, brominated dioxins, and various heavy metals – all of which are detrimental to both human health and the environment.
Another one of the pollutive dangers of e-waste is its improper disposal in the ground. This sees such metals leak into the soil and frequently enter the “soil-crop-food pathway” system as a result. Indeed, similar pollution can be found in waterways including contamination from lead and barium.
Once such pollution on the local environment happens, it can be difficult to contain – and the consequences can be devastating.
The Human Impact of E-Waste
When the environment is polluted with toxins, it is inevitable that such pollutants will also impact the animals and humans who are sustained by the land. Improperly managed e-waste through ITAD & Lifecycle Services can result in hazardous chemicals and irritants being released into the food chain, and although the contamination to humans may not be instant, it will still be harmful over time.
One common chemical released by poor e-waste management is Selenium. Often used for its photovoltaic and photoconductive properties, exposure leads to rashes, skin swelling, deformed nail growth, and severe pain. Beryllium is frequently used in alloys for electrical contacts and causes its own disease, Beryllium disease. Mercury remains present in many products and its inhalation can cause damage to the organs and nervous system, in some cases with fatal consequences. Cadmium is commonly found in batteries and can cause brittle bones, cancer, and damage to human DNA sequencing. Lead, although now heavily regulated, is still found in printed circuit boards worldwide and causes high blood pressure, severe kidney damage, reduced fertility, and heart disease.
If the dangers of e-waste are so vast, why do businesses keep using unfit ITAD & Lifecycle Services processing companies?
Indeed, the dangers of e-waste far outweigh any cost-benefit in opting for a cheap ITAD & Lifecycle Services processing company; but do companies truly understand the risks posed to those processing the ITAD & Lifecycle Services or in the geographical areas around such activities?
Procurri aims to bring awareness to the dangers that can result from improper and unethical ITAD & Lifecycle Services processing to help inform businesses to act more responsibly. Together with our customers, we work daily to not just safely process end-of-life hardware safely and securely but also to derive tangible value from such processing – benefitting the customer, the environment within which we all operate, and those who are then able to access lower-cost hardware because of successful refurbishment, recycling, and resale.
The dangers of e-waste do not just impact those who live locally to an ITAD & Lifecycle Services processing facility, although indeed they may be more acutely affected daily. Unethical and improper ITAD & Lifecycle Services processing impacts everyone and if businesses are willing and able to make a stand against it, they can improve conditions for their communities, boost their corporate socially responsible credentials and perhaps most importantly, do the right thing for the world.