Hazardous Waste Is Increasingly Dangerous

"If not addressed comprehensively, the problems of accumulating hazardous materials generated by and used in high-tech manufacturing and e-waste risk undermining the ecological sustainability of affected communities worldwide."—Elizabeth Grossman, environmental journalist and author.

Elizabeth Grossman, High Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden Toxics, and Human Health. Washington, DC: Island, 2006, p. 263.

In fact, one of the most dangerous types of hazardous waste in the illegal stream today is e-waste, which is rapidly increasing around the world as wave after wave of technology floods the consumer markets. But developed nations have not devised adequate strategies for dealing with these electronic wastes, so much of it ends up in developing countries, where it contaminates water, soil, and air. As author Elizabeth Grossman explains:

Over the past two decades or more, rapid technological advances have doubled the computing capacity of semiconductor chips almost every eighteen months, bringing us faster computers, smaller cell phones, more efficient machinery and appliances, and an increasing demand for new products. Yet this rushing stream of amazing electronics leaves in its wake environmental degradation and a large volume of hazardous waste.45

According to some environmental advocacy groups, the United States is one of the worst offenders, exporting large amounts of hazardous e-waste to places such as China, India, and Pakistan.

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