Study Warns of Cell Phone Pollution
Wednesday, May 8, 2002 National News AP (Taken from Eugene Register-Guard)

WASHINGTON- A new kind of cell phone pollution-this one is silent.

Within 3 years, Americans will discard about 130 million cellular telephones a year, and that means 65,000 tons of trash, including toxic metals and other health hazards, a study says.

"Because these devices are so small, their environmental impacts might appear to be minimal," says Bette Fishbein, a researcher at Inform, an environmental research organization, who wrote the report.

But, she says, the growth in cell phone use has been so rapid and enormous "that the environmental and public impacts of the waste they create are a significant concern."

The study said that by 2005, there will be at least 200 million cell phones in use across the country and another 500 million older phones may be stockpiled in drawers, closets and elsewhere, waiting to be thrown away. Cell phones, along with other "wireless waste" from increasingly popular pagers, pocket PC's and music players, pose special problems at landfills or when they're burned in municipal waste incinerators because they have toxic chemicals in batteries and other components, the report said.

These include persistent toxins that accumulate in the environment, including arsenic, antimony, beryllium, cadmium, copper, lead, nickel and zinc. These toxins have been associated with cancer and other neurological disorders, especially in children.

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