Cell Phone Recycling Causing Lead Poisoning

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The recycling of old cell phone batteries and batteries from other electronic items is not being conducted in the most ethical of manners in some areas of the United States, with many being sent off to Mexico where they may be responsible for a growing number of cases of lead poisoning.  That is the conclusion of a new study that has been conducted by no less than two different environmental groups, Mexico’s Fronteras Comunes and Occupational Knowledge International, which is based out of the United States.  The report states that exports of lead batteries from items such as used cell phones and other electrical goods to Mexico are on the rise, creating a growing risk of exposure and detrimental effects on public health.
“This report raises serious concerns about the contribution of used batteries from the US to lead poisoning south of the border,” says the executive director of Occupational Knowledge International, Perry Gottesfeld.  “It is remarkable that both governments allow US companies to export batteries to Mexico where there is neither the regulatory capacity nor the technology in place to recycle them safely.  There are significant health effects from lead at the exposure levels we have documented.”
Since ambient air standards in the United States were tightened up three years ago back in 2008, exports of lead batteries to Mexico from used cell phones, and other electronics has more than doubled.