By B.N. Frank
Materials needed to make digital, electronic, and wireless devices and infrastructure are often referred to as “Conflict Minerals” because of their devastating environmental and humanitarian impacts. Toxic Electronic Waste aka “E-Waste” is one of those impacts.
Of course, due to COVID concerns more products are being manufactured and innovations to reduce E-Waste are sometimes making it more difficult. Apple AirPods have been targeted before as being a significant and growing source of E-Waste.
More about the company’s E-Waste impact from ZDNet:
Apple’s colossal e-waste timebomb
An unfortunate yet inevitable side-effect of the popularity of gadgets is e-waste, and it’s something that every company has to address. But Apple is facing a literal skyscraper.
During Apple’s financials earnings call the other day, CEO Tim Cook casually announced that Apple’s hardware ecosystem had exceeded 1.65 billion devices by the end of last year.
At the time I remember thinking “wow,” and then promptly forgot about it.
Then the other night, it struck me just how enormous that number actually is.
A billion. Then half again. And a bit more on top to finish.
And then it dawned on me just how big of an e-waste problem is facing Apple in the coming years.
iPhone 12 may cause fatal problems with pacemakers, defibrillators Magnets and other components inside iPhone 12 devices could disable pacemakers or implanted cardiac defibrillators, tech giant Apple has warned, potentially putting millions of people at risk for dangerous heart complications. The problem was identified by cardiologists at the Henry Ford Heart & Vascular Institute, who discovered that the batteries inside iPhone 12 devices and MagSafe chargers emit electromagnetic fields that can disable or interfere with implanted defibrillators and pacemakers, the health system announced late Wednesday. — Providence Journal
Even Computer World reported:
When the wording comes from a medical journal and not Apple, the words get more alarming. A January 2021 story in Heart Rhythm Journal, for example, said: “When an external magnet is applied to a defibrillator, high voltage shock therapy for ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation is suspended.”
It’s too soon to tell whether that will have any effect on how soon these models will also become obsolete and potentially destined for landfills.
Opposition to the “Race to 5G” includes concerns about the massive amounts of E-Waste it will create in addition to what’s already NOT being recycled. Doctors, scientists, and telecom whistleblowers have also endorsed a petition to boycott 5G phones.
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