Chemicals in Electronics

We all use technology to get by in life these days. From smartphones to tablets and office equipment, electronics have become the standard.

While we admittedly use electronics to improve our lives, just beneath the surface of their sleek exterior lies chemicals that pose a serious threat to our health.

Once electronics go out of fashion, are replaced, or break, most people store them away “for a rainy day” or send them off to a landfill.

Both of these harmful practices result in direct or environmental chemical exposure that has very real effects on the body.

Let’s examine how some key electronic chemicals pose a threat to your health.

Lead and Flame Retardants: Helpful, Yet Harmful

Lead and flame retardants are two of the most common materials used in electronics manufacturing. As a solder lead, literally brings electronics together, and flame retardants reduce the risk of flammable accidents during use.

However helpful these materials may be, exposure to them can cause irreversible and deadly harm to developing fetuses. Aside form that, if these contaminants make their way into the local soil or water sources, they can cause grievous harm to animals in the are and other natural wildlife.


Benzene is a yellow, flammable liquid found in many industrial electronics. Exposure to benzene is so dangerous because it can be lethal and have side effects that aren’t noticed until it’s a real problem.

Some of the health issues people face after benzene poisoning are:

  • Bone marrow cells failing to produce red blood cells
  • Failure of your immune system’s white blood cells
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Convulsions
  • Confusion
  • Anemia
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Cadmium

First and foremost, cadmium is deemed a cancer-causing agent. Yet, this harmful agent is commonly found in rechargeable computer batteries we use every day.

If your computer dies and you leave it sitting around on your property, you’re putting yourself at risk of cadmium poisoning. Exposure to cadmium can lead to lung disease, kidney disease, and fragile bones.

Even brief exposure to cadmium can result in flu-like symptoms.


Computer monitors we use daily contain mercury, a chemical whose exposure presents an especially serious situation for your body. Its toxicity leads to damage in the central nervous system.

Some of the most common symptoms of mercury exposure are:

  • Memory loss
  • Headaches
  • Tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Neuromuscular defects
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Motor dysfunction


How Does Electronic Recycling Reduce Harmful Chemical Exposure?

When you leave your electronics with an R2 Certified recycling company like RetirePC, it’s guaranteed your products will never hit a landfill.

Whether we are able to repurpose your electronics or successfully destroy them in our industrial shredder, we ensure that your electronics are handled safely and correctly from our initial collection.

Keep Your Community Cleaner and Healthier with RetirePC

If you’re ready to improve your quality of life and make a change in your recycling habits, RetirePC is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about our recycling process and our free pick-up and drop-off opportunities.

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