Toxic dust

Is your computer emitting dust? According to a recent study by several environmental groups, “toxic dust” has been found on computer processors and monitors. The highest level of toxins found was a form of polybrominated diphenyl ethers called deca-BDE. deca-BDE is the most widely used fire retardant chemicals in computing manufacturing.

The study found that computers are likely to be a significant source of deca-BDE exposure in the dust of homes, offices, schools and universities. deca-BDE is linked to reproductive and neurological disorders. Worse yet, the substance is bioaccumulative so the multiple exposures add up over time.

This is not only significant for humans, particularly for nursing mothers, but also for animals:

Also of great concern is the alarming fact that the concentrations of deca-BDE found in peregrine falcons approach those concentrations reported to have caused neurological damage in mice. So, like penta- and octa-BDE before it, manufacturers’ claims that the biological uptake of deca-BDE would not occur, certainly not in high concentrations, have not only proven to be false, but deca-BDE itself has been documented as having caused harm in lab research.

The recent study, by Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, Computer TakeBack Campaign and Clean Production Action, is the first study to find brominated flame retardants on the surfaces of computing devices in homes and offices.

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