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A luxury of previous decade but a liability for centuries!
News: CRT monitors and Televisions are now obsolete.
A million dollar question is how to dispose off this dangerous liability that comprises a great percentage of the global electronic waste stream. Active recycling and disposal of CRT monitors in Philadelphia is a heavy investment which is why recycling authorities often shy away from it. The real problem is that the CRT monitors and televisions are made from leaded glass and as a result they have nominal commodity value. This means recycling them is virtually impossible and dismantling and disposing them will pose bigger threats.
Hence, majority of these monitors are exported to be dismantled and disposed in regions with minimal or no environment protection laws. This is the ground reality; however, some recyclers in Philadelphia offer domestic solutions for CRT devices and boast a more sophisticated method for their management and disposal. Before moving on, let’s focus on the area of major risk in CRT monitors dismantling.
The U.S. Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has reported that the recyclers in Philadelphia are gathering the stockpiles of CRT glass. Until a time any feasible market emerges for it, the stock of more than hundred million kilos of CRT glass is expected to be dumped in landfills. However before that, a suitable eco-friendly method has to be devised to crush the glass and treat it with chemicals so that lead can be extracted from it. The cost of installation and monitoring process for safer lead extraction is the biggest hurdle yet to be removed.
Moving on, the recycling authorities in Philadelphia are concerned about the safety of their workers. Electronics recycling poses various risks for workers and this goes beyond safety. The major concern is health risk. The dissemination process of CRT monitors can cause serious and irreversible health problems. Some of the risks include:
The second risk can be avoided by wearing protective gear and following standard protocols but CRT monitors and television dismantling involves bigger risks than that. Not only are the workers at risk but also the people living in the vicinity and the environment in general.
Upon disposal, the CRT monitors pose a much bigger harm than while they are in use. Its improper disposal can cause breakage of glass envelope which comprises of lead. When this chemical is unleashed, this can be a potential hazard for the environment. Another harmful chemical used in making CRT monitors is barium. Now this one is water soluble and if it mixes with ground water, it can pollute our clean water reserves. Barium is known to create cardiac irregularities, damage the nervous system, and increase anxiety.
Moreover, the flame retardant dust from plastic cases and other components can lead to imbalance in thyroid hormone. Cadmium dust is another chemical threat released during dismantling procedures. It is usually released from nickel-cadmium batteries or coating on CRT glass. Workers exposed to this chemical have more chances of lung cancer, kidney and bone diseases.
As of today, Philadelphia has various e-waste management and recycling programs. They are expected to pile up the end-of-life CRTs and find a standard solution for their disposal. The high cost of this dangerous e-waste treatment and disposal is the biggest paranoia due to its complexity and associated risks. They have to deal with large volumes and install separate plants to dispose off the e-waste properly. Until then, the CRT monitors pose a major threat to the environment.