From the outside, electronics look clean, but beneath the smooth exterior, electronics contain toxic chemicals like lead, mercury and cadmium. If thrown in the trash, these chemicals can leak into the soil, water and air.
Over the last two decades Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC) has advocated for electronics companies to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of toxic chemicals in the design and manufacturing of products and the implementation of extended producer responsible in the management of products at the end of their lives.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the “vast majority” of the electronic waste (e-waste) ”recycled” in the U.S. is exported to developing countries. Adults and children in these countries do not have access to the proper tools, facilities, or safety equipment required to safely recycle e-waste. As a result, these informal sector dismantlers expose themselves and the environment to toxic chemicals. Not only are electronics sent abroad for recycling, but are also sent to prisons, where guards and prisoners are exposed to various toxic chemicals. SVTC works to expose the hazardous of exporting our e-waste overseas and to U.S. prisons.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology is seen as a vital factor in meeting the challenges of addressing global warming, reducing U.S. dependence on imported energy, creating “green jobs,” and revitalizing the U.S. economy. However, as the solar PV sector expands, little attention is being paid to the potential environmental and health costs of that rapid expansion. PV panels are based on many of the same toxic materials and manufacturing processes as electronics and have the potential to create a huge new wave of e-waste at the end of their useful lives.
Click to learn more about SVTC’s Clean and Just Solar Campaign.*
With the potential to improve the economy and the environment, “green jobs” has become a buzz word in both governmental and private sectors of business, as well as in labor and environmental organizations. Due to the solar industry’s unique opportunity to incorporate principles of social and environmental justice into its global supply, production, and recycling operations, SVTC has created the Green Jobs Platform for Solar. The Green Jobs Platform for Solar expands the current green jobs discussion by addressing worker and community rights as well as environmental protection.
Read SVTC’s Green Jobs Platform for Solar.
Nanomaterials can be as small as 1/100,000th the width of a human hair. This science of the very small is drawing big investments for the commercialization of products, but little funding for environmental health and safety research. Despite the lack of environmental health and safety data, products, ranging from sunscreen to solar panels and computers, are utilizing man-made nanomaterials and quickly becoming available on the market.
Click to learn about SVTC’s efforts to protect consumers’, workers’ and communities’ right to know.
Although solar energy could pose environmental and health problems, The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC) believes that there is sufficient time to adopt measures aimed at preventing photovoltaic panels from becoming a burden on the environment and communities. SVTC does not advocate or support the use of coal or other sources of non-renewable energy.
Visit ThisIsReality.org read about coal’s impact on the environment, communities, and workers.