Toxic Phones

Ripple teamed up with and to release a new study on toxic chemicals in 36 different cell phones, including the iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S III.

The study justifiably received massive media attention – especially in technology press. Stories ran in The New York Times, CNET, Mother Jones, CBS News, GigaOm, Grist, TechMeme and dozens of other outlets.

Every phone sampled in this study contained at least one of following hazardous chemicals: lead, bromine, chlorine, mercury and cadmium. These hazardous substances can pollute throughout a product’s life cycle, including when the minerals are extracted; when they are processed; during phone manufacturing; and at the end of the phone’s useful life. Emissions during disposal and recycling of phones as electronic waste, or “e-waste,” are particularly problematic. The mining of some tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold used in mobile phones has been linked to conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Most of the 36 cell phones analyzed were models released in the last 5 years. The phones tested represent 10 mobile phone manufacturers, including: Apple, Hewlett-Packard Development Company, HTC Corporation, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd, LG Electronics, Motorola, Nokia Corporation, Palm, Research in Motion and Samsung Electronics. The sample represents the largest set ever released for any electronic product.

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