Toxics message delivered to Dell HQ

by Michelle Frey

April 5, 2010

This morning, Greenpeace activists were hanging out in front of Dell’s global headquarters with a banner for the computer company founder and CEO: “Michael, What the Dell? Design out Toxics!” You can support them by writing to Dell right now.


We simply want to hold him to his word to go green. On March 29, activists in Belgium, the Netherlands, and India protested outside local Dell offices just as Mr. Dell was having an important meeting with his staff.

Back in 2006, Dell became one of the first companies in our Guide to Greener Electronics to make a public commitment to release products free from harmful substances such as PVC vinyl plastic and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) by the end of 2009. Great start! But Dell continues to use PVC vinyl plastic and BFRs in all its computers, and it’s almost June 2010 already. 

With companies like Apple and HP already selling products without these harmful chemicals, there is no excuse for Dell to not do the same. At this point, founder and CEO Michael Dell is watching the competition race past his own company.

Dell can’t fulfill its aim to be the greenest technology company on the planet until it follows through on its commitments to phase out substances that are hazardous to the environment and public health. All electronics companies need to follow the lead of Apple, HP and Indian brands HCL and Wipro who are phasing out the worst toxics chemicals.

Today we also released our 15th version of the Guide to Greener Electronics, at a press conference in Japan.

Dell, Toshiba, and Samsung all received penalty points for backtracking on their public commitments to eliminate toxic substances from their products. Meanwhile HP, Apple, Sony Ericsson, Nokia and Acer are by making PVC and BFR free products available right now.

Both PVC and BFRs contaminate humans and the environment throughout its lifecycle: during its production, use, and disposal. Since safer alternatives are available for virtually all uses of PVC and BFRs, it is possible to protect human health and the environment by replacing and eventually phasing out these poisonous chemicals altogether.

We also want all companies, in addition to phase out of toxic in products, to take a proactive position to ensure that their commitments for PVC and BFR elimination end up in the European Union’s RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances in electronics) Directive. That way the whole electronics industry will have to clean up.

So please spread the word, and help us get the message across to Dell!

(Twitter update from @greenpeaceusa: Greenpeace activists are safe, no arrests were made and @Dell got the message loud and clear!) 

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