I agree with both of your points, Dave. The EU bill has indeed not stopped those who ship e-waste to Asia and South America. And I also have doubts about whether the U.S. bill will be see the light of day. I hope it does. This is a nasty business.
If the U.S. is serious about restricting export of electronic waste, it will need to be tougher than the Europeans. As I mentioned in a previous post, the European Union has had a hard time getting companies to comply with its electronic waste regulations. The enforcement is lax and the penalties are relatively low, so some companies make the calculation that it is cheaper to break the law than to follow it.
Given that the current majority in the House of Representatives seems to be ideologically opposed to anything that would impose any restrictions whatsoever on the ability of business to do whatever it wants, I am skeptical that we will see the kind of tough law that is needed.
There are a lot of nasty stories about what happens when this stuff gets dumped. In addition to the toxic chemicals hurting the poor, those parts that are getting picked off the boards get flushed back into the supply chain as counterfeits. Component manufacturers and distributors have been yelling "help" for years.
This falls under the banner of being good world citizens. Not exciting stuff, but obviously rampant dumping benefits no one. I wonder how much effect the 60 Minutes story of a few years back had on spurring this legislation. The piece showed the poorest of the poor picking through e-junk in India, attempting to make their living by extracting toxic materials off of PC boards so the could make a few pennies, while putting their health at serious risk in the process.
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