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Elisa Batista's picture

Here is some good news all eco-conscientious parents can bask in. Seven major electronics companies, including Apple and Sony-Ericsson, are actively eliminating toxic brominated flame retardants (BFR) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) from their products.

Two non-profit environmental organizations, ChemSec and Clean Production Action, just released a report detailing their efforts. From Clean Production Action’s press release:

“"These seven companies demonstrate that there are less toxic and still cost effective alternatives to substances of high concern that do not compromise performance or reliability,’ said CPA Project Director Alexandra McPherson. 'They are well positioned to gain competitive advantage in a marketplace and regulatory environment increasingly sensitive to the use of toxic chemicals in consumer products.’

“High volume uses of bromine and chlorine in flame retardant and plastic resin applications such as brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) gained worldwide attention when scientific studies demonstrated their link to the formation of highly toxic dioxin compounds. Dioxin, a potent human carcinogen that is toxic in very low amounts, along with other problematic compounds, are unintentionally released into the environment during the burning and smelting of electronic waste.

“The current recycling and waste infrastructure to safely reuse and recycle obsolete equipment is insufficient for the fastest growing waste stream in the world. Furthermore, much of the waste is increasingly shipped to developing countries with even less capacity for appropriate waste management. Many studies document the accumulation of these widespread pollutants in air, water, soil, and sediment, where they are increasingly ingested by humans and animals.”

Apple sells a host of popular PVC and BFR-free products, including its iPhones and iPods. Sony-Ericsson is not only eliminating these toxic chemicals from their products but also undergoing the complicated task of taking inventory of all chemicals in its products.

Seagate, the largest disk drive manufacturer in the world, is now making disk drives without chlorine and bromine-based chemicals.

Other companies focused on eliminating these toxins in their products are the Netherlands-based DSM Engineering Plastics, Nan Ya of Taiwan, Indium of the United States and the U.S.-based Silicon Storage Technology.

Here is a shout out to these companies for helping protect our children from the toxic effects of BFRs and PVC. Very cool.

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