What Are Mutagens?

We all know that e-waste is harmful both to the environment and to human health, but are you aware of just how deep that harm can go?


Believe it or not, some toxic substances used in the manufacture of common electronic devices actually have the potential of negatively altering the DNA of living organisms. That’s right, not even the building blocks of life itself are safe from the ravages of e-waste.


Not following proper e-waste recycling precautions is a mistake that allows people and animals to come in contact with a number of dangerous metals and chemicals. These materials, capable of permanently altering genetic material, are known as mutagens.

Effects of Mutagens on Human Health

As the name suggests, mutagens cause harmful mutations in the DNA of living things, which can result in the impairment or loss of function of certain genes. In extreme cases, exposure to mutagens can even lead to cell death.


Exposure to mutagens can also lead to the development of a number of serious health conditions, including neurological disorders, infertility, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and more. What’s more, because mutagens impact the structure of an individual’s very genetics, the damaged genes can be passed down through the generation.


This means that the harm e-waste mutagens can do isn’t limited to the present day. Mutagens can create inheritable genetic predispositions towards such conditions as hemophilia, sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease, and various types of cancer.

Close-up of a signing warning of radioactivity in the area

Why Are Mutagens Found in Electronics?

Although mutagens affect the DNA of living organisms, not all mutagens are biological in nature. Many mutagens take the form of chemicals, metals, or even radiation.


Various forms of hospital and lab equipment, such as X-ray imaging machines, rely on mutagenic radiation in order to function. Likewise, mutagenic chemicals like benzene and bromine are often used in the manufacture of synthetic rubbers, circuit boards, and more.


Metals with potentially mutagenic effects, including chromium, cadmium, arsenic, and cobalt, are all common components in consumer-grade desktop and laptop computers. The presence of these substances in such widely used technologies makes it all the more important to engage in responsible computer recycling when disposing of unwanted devices.

Newtech Recycling Helps Protect You From E-Waste Mutagens 

Because of the permanent and multi-generational negative effects of e-waste mutagens, it is very important for damaged and unwanted electronic devices to be handled safely during the disposal process. Burning or dumping technology in landfills increases the likelihood that you or others could be exposed to toxic mutagens.


Fortunately, Newtech Recycling is here to protect you and your loved ones. We’re proud to offer a wide range of collection and disposal services, from computer and TV recycling to secure hard drive destruction and more. If you or your organization have unwanted electronics taking up space, don’t try to dispose of them yourself. Leave it to the experts at Newtech Recycling.


Newtech Recycling is always ready to help. Contact us today!

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