At Newtech Recycling, we spend a lot of time explaining to clients and website visitors just how dangerous it can be to throw your old electronics in the garbage. The reason is that most electronics contain heavy metals and other chemicals that are toxic to all life, from plants to animals to people. The presence of electronics in landfills is an extreme environmental and health hazard for that reason.

To give you a clearer idea of the risks involved with casually tossing electronics in with normal garbage, we are going to detail for you a few of the top toxic chemicals in electronic devices. We hope that, by the end, you will understand why we are so committed to tech recycling here at Newtech.

1. Lead

First on our list is lead, a heavy metal commonly found in old CRT, or cathode-ray tube, televisions. Lead is a metal you really don’t want to mess with. Its adverse effects on the human body will occur whether you breathe in, swallow, or absorb the substance. The frightening aspect of lead is that your body will take it in and store it in your bones and blood. The dangers of this are revealed only slowly, over time, as the lead is gradually released into your body from its storage places. This may result in pain or tingling, fatigue, abdominal cramps, and weakness. Higher exposures to lead can cause brain and kidney damage or death.

2. Mercury

You are likely somewhat familiar with mercury and its dangers; it was commonly used in old thermometers. But mercury is also present in the screens of LCD televisions, computers, and cell phones. You are safe while using these devices, but if they crack or become otherwise compromised, such as they would be in a landfill, the mercury vapors are released. Mercury is a particularly poisonous metal that can affect the development of unborn babies and damage the lungs, kidneys, eyes, digestive system, immune system, and nervous system of adults. The health effects of mercury exposure depend largely on the amount of mercury involved, what kind of exposure it was, and for how long the exposure lasted. Needless to say, mercury is not a metal anyone wants in the air, soil, or water. This is why we take electronic recycling so seriously at Newtech Recycling.

3. Cadmium

Cadmium is usually found in computer batteries, switches, and circuit boards. As with most of the chemicals we are listing, the effects of cadmium on the human body depend on the type of exposure that occurs. Strong exposure in a short period may damage the lungs and cause muscle pain, weakness, and chills. Meanwhile, gradual cadmium exposure over time can damage the kidneys, bones, and lungs. Finally, and importantly, cadmium is a known human carcinogen, meaning exposure to it can cause cancer.

4. Flame Retardants

The final item on our list is not another metal, but rather a general category known as flame retardants. These are chemicals that are applied directly to the components used in electronics to prevent the spread of fire, should one ever occur inside the device. Flame retardants are nearly inescapable in our society. They are used in many products, including electronics, furniture, and the insides of vehicles. Most people are exposed to flame retardants every day without realizing it. Brominated flame retardants are usually used in electronics. “Brominated” means the chemicals contain the element bromine, which can be hazardous to humans in its liquid and vapor state. Whether you absorb it through the skin or inhale it, bromine can damage the nervous system, liver, kidneys, and lungs. Once again, it is definitely not a chemical you would want to see transferred from a landfill to soil or groundwater.

Entrust Your Electronic Recycling to Newtech Recycling

The pictures we painted in the sections above do seem frightening. That’s because they are, but they are indeed our reality in the United States. Those metals and chemicals we mentioned do actually leach into the earth when electronics are deposited into landfills with other garbage.

At Newtech Recycling, we work every day to prevent scenarios like that taking place. We take your obsolete electronics, destroy your old personal data, and recycle the remaining parts to be used in further electronic production. It’s all in a day’s work when it comes to responsible tech recycling.

Contact us today to get a quote on your own recycling project, and we will be happy to assist you.