Modern technology has brought a lot of good into people’s lives, making out daily existences more efficient, convenient, and interconnected. For all their benefits, though, electronic devices have just as many drawbacks, including some that pose a danger to human health and wellness.

Today’s electronics equipment requires a wide range of parts and materials to function properly. Some of these materials are toxic to humans. The worst of these materials are classified as carcinogens. Carcinogens are substances that promote carcinogenesis, which is the formation of cancer.

Carcinogens increase the risk of cancer by altering cellular metabolism or damaging DNA directly within the body’s cells. According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, with 18.1 million new cases and 9.5 million cancer-related deaths reported globally in 2018.

By 2040, the number of new cancer cases reported annually is expected to rise to 29.5 million, while the number of cancer-related deaths is expected to rise to 16.4 million.

Common Carcinogens Found in E-Waste

Some of the most common carcinogens found in electronics today include the following:

  • Arsenic and its compounds are used in the manufacture of various alloys and electrical and semiconductor devices. Most notably present in circuit boards, LCD displays, and computer chips, arsenic has been linked to an increased risk of lung and skin cancer. 
  • Beryllium and its compounds are used in the manufacture of lightweight alloys, cell phones, computers, high-definition TVs, medical technology, and more. Beryllium has been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer.
  • Cadmium and its compounds are used in the manufacture of batteries and industrial paints, and is often used as a protective coating for metals in electrical and semiconductor devices. Cadmium has been linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer.
  • Nickel is used in the manufacture of many electronic devices, including computers, tablets, cell phones, power tools, rechargeable batteries, and more. Nickel has been linked to an increased risk of lung and nose cancer.
  • Vinyl chloride is used in the manufacture of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, which is widely used as a coating for electrical wires in a variety of electronic devices and home appliances. Vinyl chloride has been linked to an increased risk of blood and liver cancer.

How to Reduce Carcinogens in the Environment

When improperly disposed-of computers, smartphones, and TVs accumulate in landfills, carcinogens leach into the surrounding soil and groundwater, eventually making their way into our food and drink.

Likewise, when electronic devices are destroyed by burning, carcinogens are released into the atmosphere, where they can travel for hundreds of miles on wind currents before making their way into our lungs.

Old and unwanted electronics don’t belong in landfills or burning in fires; they belong in safe, modern recycling facilities equipped with the tools and experienced professionals necessary to separate harmful and reusable materials.

Newtech Recycling has the facilities, the tools, and the experience to do just that. At Newtech Recycling, we believe that the key to a better future for people, the environment, and the economy is making proper e-waste recycling services convenient and accessible to businesses of all sizes.

Call Newtech Recycling today for more information on how you can help reduce carcinogens in the environment.

Related Terms: Electronic Recycling, TERRA, ITAD

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