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Resource ID: #23956
Subject: Pollution
Source: CBS News
Date: 2008-11-09



CBS News found that when well-meaning American consumers give their electronics to so-called recyclers, the waste is often smuggled to China and other parts of the Third World, where it is broken down or melted for the precious metals inside. They investigated a major electronic waste recycler in the Denver area, Executive Recycling, and tracked a container that had been filled with cathode ray tubes at the company's loading docks. They followed this container from Denver, to the port of Tacoma, to Hong Kong, which is the main entryway to the part of southern China where electronic waste is broken down in the worst conditions. There, seven out of ten kids have dangerous levels of lead in their blood. Pregnancies are six times more likely to end in miscarriage. The reporters also went to China and found that wasteland, where workers were cooking circuit boards over open flames and separating the gold from other metals in acid baths on the edge of a river. While filming, the crew was attacked by a gang that protects this gray market enterprise. Back in Denver, CBS News confronted the CEO of Executive Recycling. He denied that his company had sent the CRTs overseas, but the evidence was all but irrefutable.

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