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Poison For the Environment: The Ecological Hazards Posed By Your Favorite Cell Phones

In today’s world of flu, it is a simple truth that no one can do for long without a cell phone. Our fast-paced and competitive lifestyles have seen this. But the environmental impact of these necessary gadgets in the new era is worrying. And if we do not come up with clever, sustainable solutions to the problem, then we are in for a rude awakening! In this article, we will focus on the toxic substances that enter into normal cell phone production. Heavy metals and other toxic substances in both animals and plants. And not to mention the ecosystem, the earth and the ozone layer, in general.

Cell Phone Health Rate

In the U.S. alone, the average life expectancy of a smartphone user is 2 years. And in many cases, people do not throw away their old phones because of some hardware defect. They are keenly interested in buying the latest releases in their preferred line. Take the annual chaos surrounding the release of Apple’s latest Apple model, for example. Several smartphone models also suffer from rapid firmware duplication. That’s when their apps, due to a lack of company updates, expire. A situation where new versions of the app do not download or install. A good example of this is the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 – released in September 2017. Some regional phone models, as of November 2021, only offer support for the Android 7.1.1 (Nougat) version. This renders many popular applications, such as Slack (work message), inactive. Both of these concerns point to a great need for new, more recent phones. This demand, too, means greater and faster production results. Which leads to an ever-increasing carbon footprint. All the bad news of nature. Also, the main reason why production processes need urgent change. Both in the release frequency of the new phone model and the production of the existing model.

Toxic Substances Used in Cell Phones Production

The chart below provides an accurate estimate of the raw materials used in the production of your daily cell phone. As you can see, plastics make up the bulk of the material delivered through this process. Their dangers to marine life and land animals are well-known. We have all seen the deplorable images of fish and seagulls falling victim to the plague of polythenes abandoned by man-made river habitats.

These compounds are:

  • Arsenic
  • Antimony
  • Beryllium
  • Cadmium
  • Copper
  • Leadership
  • Lithium
  • Mercury
  • Nickel
  • Zinc

called Permanent Chemicals, Bioaccumulative and Toxic (PBTs) by naturalists. This refers to their negative health impact.

Their ‘persistence’ stems from the fact that they are resistant to natural decay. Arsenic, lead, and mercury fall into this category. Because of their basic nature, they are indestructible.

Other compounds of cellular substances, such as lead, are also bioaccumulative. Animals, and especially marine life, are constantly at risk of exposure to them. And over time, this pollution leads to a toxic residue: a condition in which the consumption of their meat leads to horrific health consequences. Cases of wild and domestic salmon, with high levels of mercury, are well known. These foods are especially dangerous for pregnant/breastfeeding mothers and infants. When eaten, they pass through the mammary glands to breast milk; accumulating in the growing fetuses of children. They are also known to pass from the placenta to the developing fetus, causing brain damage.

Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs)

Brominated flame retardants, or BFRs, are a combination of chemicals added to cellular plastics to make them resistant to flames. The problem with these chemicals is that they are highly toxic to humans. Their impact on brain health, too, is well documented; is known to cause severe muscle paralysis. So a doctor’s note to avoid their use appears as obvious

Bottom Line

Here, we have discussed some of the major cell phone manufacturers that cause damage both to human health and the environment. There are no two ways to think about this matter; the destructive impact of discarded device components, detoxifying the earth, is catastrophic. But knowing that we humans, in the present moment, cannot hope to do without these tools, a practical agreement must be reached. One in which device users agree to keep their cell phones for at least 4-5 years (commonly referred to as operating normal model life). And when these gadgets are released – for reuse – in an environmentally friendly way.

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