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Health Concerns and Electronics Products – Why Green Procurement? Presented to H2E – May 14, 2004 by Ted Smith Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition/ Computer.

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Presentation on theme: "Health Concerns and Electronics Products – Why Green Procurement? Presented to H2E – May 14, 2004 by Ted Smith Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition/ Computer."— Presentation transcript:

1 Health Concerns and Electronics Products – Why Green Procurement? Presented to H2E – May 14, 2004 by Ted Smith Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition/ Computer TakeBack Campaign

2 High Tech Impact on the Environment In the birthplace of high-tech, Silicon Valley, 24 of the 29 sites listed on the National Priorities List (Superfund Sites) for clean up of contaminated soil and water were caused by high-tech companies.

3 “Printed circuit boards contain heavy metals such as antimony, silver, chromium, zinc, lead, tin and copper. According to some estimated there is hardly any other product for which the sum of the environmental impacts of raw material, extraction, industrial, refining and production, use and disposal is so extensive as for printed circuit boards.” -CARE conference, Vienna 1994

4 Health Concerns and Electronics Products Materials of Concern (1) chlorinated plastics in cable wiring brominated flame retardants in PCBs heavy metals (lead and cadmium) in CRTs mercury in Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) or flat panel monitors.

5 Health Concerns and Electronics Products Materials of Concern (2) teratogenic = linked to birth defects persistent = remains in the environment bioaccumulative = accumulates in living organisms carcinogenic = cancer causing

6 Health Concerns and Electronics Products Materials of Concern (3) reproductive toxin = linked to birth defects endocrine disruptor = disrupts the hormonal system mutagenic = causes mutations in cells

7 Toxic Materials in the 300 Million Obsolete Computers by 2004 Plastic 4 billion lbs. Lead 1 billion lbs. Cadmium 2 million lbs. Chromium 1.2 million lbs Mercury 400,000 lbs

8 Health Concerns and Electronics Products It is estimated that 70% of the heavy metals found in landfills (including mercury and cadmium) come from discarded electronic products

9 Health Impacts Mercury - damages brain, kidneys, fetus; travels easily in the food chain –PBT - persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic Cadmium - damages kidneys (PBT) Chromium VI - damages DNA Toners - carbon black - respiratory problems; may be carcinogenic

10 BFRs, Health and Computers

11 BFR Health Concerns Some brominated compounds share many properties with organochlorine compounds such as DDT or PCBs PBDEs are long-lived, fat - seeking and therefore bioaccumulate in animal tissue Possible endocrine disruptors

12 US Findings Between 1989 and 1998 PBDE concentrations in harbor seal tissue doubled every 1.8 years 14 –A recent US study found San Francisco Bay Area women contained 3 times the concentration of PBDE in breast milk than in Sweden 14 –US has the highest documented concentrations in the world

13 Health Concerns and Electronics Products Mercury and Exposure During Disposal Lighting in flat panel displays is a source of mercury. Mercury is a well-documented neurotoxin. Mercury contamination occurs during the transfer, landfilling, and incineration of solid waste. prevention/mercury/landfillfactsheet.cfm

14 Health Concerns and Electronics Products Mercury emissions have been found at landfills on the working face and in gas extraction systems Landfills convert part of the mercury in products from the metallic form to the more toxic methyl form and the highly toxic dimethyl form and are a major source of these emissions Mercury from landfills can re-enter the environment when the leachate is treated either on-site or at wastewater treatment plants

15 Exporting Harm

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19 To order video:

20 Prison labor is dangerous and undercuts commercial high-end recycling

21 Europe Leads the Way with 2 new Directives Europe Leads the Way with 2 new Directives Waste Electrical Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical & electronic equipment (RoHS)

22 … But the US Lags Behind ** No National Legislation ** States are Beginning ** Landfill bans – RCRA liability ** CA, ME, MN, MA, etc. are Passing New Laws

23 What Health Care Institutions Can Do 1. Improve Environmental Health by purchasing greener IT equipment 2. Use procurement to save $$ 3. Evaluate Total Cost of Ownership 4. Use Purchasing Power to Drive Greener Design and Take Back

24 Health Care Procurement Guidelines Health Care Procurement Guidelines Developed by CTBC & Health Care Without Harm (1) End of Life Management – Major Cost Issue – Because of both HIPPA and RCRA (Can Save $$ by including in purchasing of new IT equipment and giving EOL extra points) (2) Design for the Environment & Public Health (3) Energy Efficiency

25 Procurement Guidelines (1) (posted on H2E website) Going Green: A Resource Kit for Pollution Prevention in Health Care Section 7. Computers and Electronics 7-1 Healthier Choices for Electronic Equipment:Healthier Choices for Electronic Equipment: From Procurement to End-of-Life 7-2 Environmentally Preferable Procurement Guidelines for Information Technology (IT) Equipment in Health Care --Environmentally Preferable Procurement Guidelines for Information Technology (IT) Equipment in Health Care -- Part I: The Issue 7-3 EPP Guidelines for IT Equipment in Health Care -EPP Guidelines for IT Equipment in Health Care - Part II: Procurement Matrix for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and Vendors Part II: Procurement Matrix for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and Vendors

26 Procurement Guidelines (2) (posted on H2E website) 7-4 EPP Guidelines for IT Equipment in Health Care –EPP Guidelines for IT Equipment in Health Care – Part III: Post Contract Reporting Requirements for Continual Improvement 7-5 EPP Guidelines for IT Equipment in Health Care –EPP Guidelines for IT Equipment in Health Care – Part IV: Recommendations for the Bid Development Process 7-6 EPP Guidelines for IT Equipment in Health Care –EPP Guidelines for IT Equipment in Health Care – Part V: Sample Procurement Evaluation Tool with Excel spreadsheetExcel spreadsheet

27 Electronic Recycler's Pledge of True Stewardship What is the Pledge? Promise not to landfill or burn e-waste Promise not to export hazardous e-waste Promise not to use prison labor Promise to use highest standards for recycling See the entire Pledge at:

28 Electronic Recycler's Pledge of True Stewardship Frequently Asked Questions Q 1. What is the Pledge? The Pledge can be signed by any qualified organization that accepts electronic waste and commits to ethical handling of the hazardous waste, including providing visible tracking of the hazardous waste to its final processing facility and only sending hazardous e-waste and non-working equipment with hazardous components to a final destination in developed countries, and not to landfills, incinerators, prison operations, or developing nations. See the entire Pledge at:

29 For More Information:


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