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The Scope of US E-Waste 249

theodp writes "Every day, Americans toss out more than 350,000 cell phones and 130,000 computers, making electronic waste the fastest-growing part of the US garbage stream. A lot of the world's e-waste is exported to Guiyu, China, where peasants heat circuit boards over coal fires to recover lead (a 15" computer monitor can pack up to 7 lbs. of Pb), while others use acid to burn off bits of gold. Guiyu's willingness to deal with lead, mercury and other toxic materials generates $75 million a year for the village, but as a result. Guiyu is slowly poisoning itself with the highest level of cancer-causing dioxins in the world. The village experiences elevated rates of miscarriages, and its children suffer from an extremely high rate of lead poisoning. TIME suggests checking out recycling brokers and accredited e-stewards the next time you're ready to toss a gizmo."

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