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Flat screen monitors will poison the planet

Recycler warns of hidden dangers and unknown chemicals

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A leading UK recycling company has warned that the current trend for flat-panel monitor screens may turn into an environmental disaster for future generations. Technical Asset Management, (TAM) said that no one really knows which chemicals and compounds are used in the manufacture of flat-panel screens which means no one knows how to dispose of them safely. Traditional cathode ray tube monitors contain a number of poisonous compounds such as cadmium - a known carcinogenic - and lead. They are still, all too often, just dumped and not disposed of in an environmentally sensible manner. The same dangers could lurk in flat-panel screens, according to TAM. TAM commercial director, Jon Godfrey, said: "The advantages of buying flat screen displays is clear. They use far less power, take up less space and look good. It is known that flat screens including LCD's (liquid crystal displays) contain a number of chemicals and gases to enable them to perform. What little we do know has suggested there may be some very unfriendly substances." "Because the technology is in its infancy, manufacturers are not releasing details about the constituents. The recycling industry therefore has had no chance to prepare suitable recycling processes." Claire Snow, director of Industry Council for Electronic and Electrical Recycling (ICER) - said: "In order to recycle flat screen displays and dispose of any hazardous substances they contain safely, it is essential to know what these monitors are made of. This is often a closely guarded secret." ®

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