of 2002, one billion PCs had been sold worldwide.
The study examines a variety of environmental impacts associated with computer production processes. The main impacts are believed to be:
- Significant energy use in the production and operation of computers.
- Possible long-term health effects on workers, families and neighboring communities due to chemical exposure and emissions from production stages such as microchip fabrication.
- Possible health impacts due to exposure to hazardous materials contained in computer products, in particular brominated flame retardants and lead. The main risk of exposure is probably from computers that have been dumped in landfills or from environmentally unsafe recycling processes in the developing world.
The high-tech nature of computer manufacturing makes it extremely energy intensive and therefore significant for climate change and depletion of fossil fuel resources.
Although computers use relatively less energy when they are in operation, the combination of a high-energy manufacturing process and a short lifespan raise its lifetime environment-related energy impacts to about the same level as a refrigerator, which is one of the more energy-intensive appliances in the home.
Health impacts of toxic chemicals
Hundreds or even thousands of chemicals, many of them toxic, are used to produce a computer and a set of specific health concerns has arisen regarding chemical exposure in the production process. Another pressing concern is the environmental and health impacts of emissions of hazardous substances from discarded computer equipment.
While the microchip industry has fewer accidental injuries compared to heavy industries, concerns have arisen over whether possible health effects of long-term exposure of workers to toxic chemicals. Former workers in semiconductor fabrication facilities have filed lawsuits alleging Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 Related biology news :1
Contact: Terry Collins
United Nations University
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