Rotten to the Core

Feature story - September 18, 2006
Some of the best-known laptops are contaminated with some of the worst known toxic chemicals, and we’ve got the test results to prove it. Our research laboratories tested for the presence of several toxic chemicals, including brominated flame retardants (BFRs), polyvinyl chloride plastic (PVC), and even lead, in brand new laptops from 5 of the world’s leading manufacturers. Brands like Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Apple contained the highest levels of contamination, despite claims to the contrary.

In fact, HP claims on its web site that the brominated flame retardant known as decaBDE was removed from its product line years ago, but our test results proved otherwise. We also proved that the HP laptop had high levels of a number of other chemicals, including the highest levels by far of PBDEs (a class of BFRs). Lead was also found in the soldering.

As a result of these latest tests, HP has been downgraded on our Toxic Technology report card.  HP was third, but has now slipped to sixth position, with 4.7 out of 10, down from 5.7.

But of all the laptops tested, Apple's Macbook was the most contaminated, with the highest level of another type of toxic flame retardant, tetrabromobisphenol A.

The scariest result of these tests won't be found in the lab, but rather in Asian scrapyards where young children dismantle these computers by hand, and are exposed to all of the toxic chemicals within them.

It doesn't take a scientific study to see that we're being sold a pack of lies and poison apples.

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