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The Impact Mobile Phones Have On The Environment

What's inside the devices we own?

It's vital to the well-being of our environment that every single mobile phone is recycled once it is no longer used by the owner. Unfortunately not everyone knows how, why or where they can recycle their old mobile. Fewer people are aware of the consequences of throwing mobile phones out with regular household waste.

Every mobile is full of highly toxic materials which can cause huge environmental damage. Many people think that burning (Or incinerating) a mobile phone will help to get rid of the dangerous chemicals, but this is not the case.

Mobile phones are full of toxic chemicals and materials that include:

View full sized image of our phone health risks infographic
  • Brominated Flame Retardants. Despite being used to help prevent circuit boards catching fire, these retardants pose a threat to wildlife. Brominated Flame Retardants have been found in breast milk and even in polar bears. Fortunately the use of these retardants has been banned since 2006.
  • Cadmium. Although no longer added to mobile batteries, phones that were made before 2006 will contain this chemical. Over exposure to it could harm the kidney and bones. This chemical is even thought to cause lung cancer.
  • Lead. Used in circuit boards and other manufacturing processes, this chemical is very toxic and its use has been banned in mobile phones since 2006. Thankfully landfill sites in poor countries have been banned from storing lead due to it's health and environmental impacts.
  • Phthalates. Used to soften the plastic needed to make mobile phones, phthalates are known to cause reproductive problems. Mobile phone companies have yet to ban this substance from being used during the manufacturing process.
  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). Despite the fact that when PVC is burned it lets of highly toxic substances, manufacturers still use it in some electronic equipment, including mobile phones. Some campaigners are calling for a ban on its use, but it has yet to come into effect.