Dismantling laptop prior to testing for toxic chemicals.
An independant Danish laboratory tested for the presence of
several toxicchemicals, including brominated flame retardants
(BFRs), polyvinylchloride plastic (PVC), and even lead, in brand
new laptops from fiveof the world's leading manufacturers (Acer,
Apple, Dell, HP, Sony). HPand Apple laptops contained the highest
levels of contamination.
We have been pressuring leading electronic companies to ditch
toxicchemicals in favour of safer alternatives. The laptop tests
reveal ifthe top companies are matching nice green words with real
Results for HP revealed high levels of a number of chemicals in
itscomponents, in particular the highest levels by far of PBDEs (a
classof Brominated Fire Retardants) including something called
HP's website claims it removed decaBDE fromits products years
Either HP is lying or HP needs to ask itssuppliers some tough
questions. Lead was also found in the soldering.
HP has been downgraded due to these results on our
Guide to GreenerElectronics. The guide ranks PC and mobile
companies on their chemical andwaste policies and practices. HP was
third but has slipped to sixthposition, with 4.7 out of 10, down
Apple has recently launched its new range of MacBooks, but what
youalso get with a new MacBook is the highest level of another type
oftoxic flame retardant, tetrabromobisphenol A. Apple claims
it islooking for alternatives but for now it appears to be using
far more of thistoxic chemical than its competitors.
Dr. Kevin Brigden, of the Greenpeace Science Unit, was alarmedby
the results: "During the sampling process it was remarkable to
notethat, whether Mac or PC, once you by-pass the sleek and cool
design ofthese computers, hazardous substances are a component
common to all."
Greenpeace research has revealed that the same toxic
chemicalsfound in these tests are polluting electronic waste
(e-waste) scrapyards in China and India. These yards are often the
final pollutedresting place of computers thrown away in other
Dr. Brigden visited these yards to take samples in 2005:
"BFRs,especially PDBEs, were widespread in the recycling yards
andsurrounding environment in China and India where electronics
componentsare being scrapped. Lead was also found in many
locations, often atvery high levels."
Because none of the large electronics players have a
comprehensivetake-back policy for their old products many old
computers end up
dumped inAsia and recycled by hand in appalling conditions.
Electronics is a fast moving, innovative industry that can
respondquickly to users' wishes and new trends. It's high time it
moved quicklyto make greener, longer-lasting products to help
reverse the growingtrend in toxic e-waste.
Download the full testing report.
Sign up for free as a online activist to discover how to help make the electronics industry greener.
We don't accept donations from corporations or governments. We rely on donations from people like you to keep us campaigning.