Both Oregon and Washington are getting ready to adopt California's toughest-in-the-country emissions standards for cars, light trucks, and SUVs. By 2016, all new passenger vehicles sold on the entire west coast will have to comply with the restrictions on greenhouse gasses, such as carbon dioxide, which are believed to contribute to global warming. Six states in the Northeast are also moving to adopt California's new tailpipe standards to reduce green gas emissions from cars.
Environmental groups have praised the moves by Oregon and Washington, while the auto industry is fighting the measures. Auto companies are presently suing California over its new standards, saying the state lacks the authority to implement regulations and claiming the laws will eventually add $3,000 to the cost of a new car.
Greenpeace: Toxic E-Waste in China and India Dumps
Greenpeace has found toxic chemicals, including heavy metals in the soil and local rivers around scrap yards where electronic waste is recycled in India and China. The activist group released a report outlining its analysis of dust and water samples near dumps near Guiyu Town in the Guangdong Province in southern China and in the suburbs of New Delhi, India. The report, "Toxic Tech: Recycling of electronic wastes in China and India: workplace and environmental contamination" cites the contamination found in 70 samples collected in March around the waste sites.
Results confirm that all stages in the processing of electrical and electronic wastes have potential to release substantial quantities of toxic heavy metals and organic compounds to the workplace environment.
Chemicals found near the recycling sites included lead and tin, most likely coming from solder, though some of the lead probably came from batteries. Copper, probably from wires and cables, was also found. Cadmium was present, coming from batteries, solder joints, and cables. Antimony was also found, likely coming from antimony trioxide used as a flame retardant in plastics and resins as well as from solder. Some of these chemicals were present in amounts thousands of times higher than typical levels in inside and outside environments.
EU Okays Trace Amounts of Hazardous Substances
The European Council recently issued an amendment to the RoHS directive "establishing maximum concentration values for certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment." The amendment was issued in recognition that the total avoidance of heavy metals and brominated flame retardants is impossible to achieve. The maximum concentrations were set at 0.1 percent by weight in homogeneous materials for lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium, PPB and PBDE. For cadmium, the maximum was set at 0.01 percent by weight.
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