Tom Knudson of the The Sacramento Bee reports on what eletronic gadgets leave behind:
In the soft morning light, the silver-gray mountain of electronic trash did not look especially hazardous. But it was.
Inside that massive rubble of technology, with its V-shaped canyons of printers and keyboards and its fin-like ridges of fax machines and coffee makers, was enough toxic material – including lead, cadmium and brominated flame retardants – to poison California watersheds for centuries and sow disease in humans.
“This is the problem,” said Jim Taggart, president of ECS Refining in Santa Clara, where the e-waste was waiting to be safely recycled. “This is the material that most people are exporting. They’ll get paid 5 to 10 cents a pound for shoving it in a container and shipping it overseas.”