Toxic substances from dumped computers pose a risk to human health

A computer contains more than 1,000 parts, many of which are made of highly toxic substances. Scientists have found cadmium, lead, mercury, attenuated chromium and bromide flame retardant in computers. When such substances are released into the environment, they are hazardous to human health and to the ecological balance of the planet. This is why electronic waste requires special treatment. The European Commission, in dealing with this subject, has collected data showing the effects of these substances. Cadmium: It accumulates in the kidneys, bones, and blood and has a life of 10-30 years. The main ailments it causes are kidney malfunction, growth disturbances, skeletal damage and reproductive deficiency. Cadmium is also suspected of causing cancer of the liver, lungs and prostate. Lead: When it accumulates in the body it is poisonous. Pregnant women, embryos and infants are the most susceptible to lead poisoning. Lead can harm the central and peripheral nervous systems. It can also affect the endocrine system and is carcinogenic. Mercury: It affects the brain, especially the areas controlling sight, movement and balance. It can be transmitted by a pregnant woman to the fetus through the placenta, in which case the child is born with brain damage and mental retardation. Bromide flame retardants: These mainly affect the liver, but also hormonal secretion from the thyroid. They are passed on in breast milk and are not easily broken down. Agathi Balbouzi, head of the Agriculture Ministry’s department for the promotion of organic products, said that EU funds were available through various programs for organic farmers, but that the latter were usually too late in submitting their applications.