Greenpeace: Notebooks Contain High Levels of Toxins

Hackers aren’t the only danger coming from computers, environmental watchdog Greenpeace said.

A recent study by Greenpeace found high levels of toxic substances in a number of popular notebook computers, singling out Hewlett-Packard and Apple Computers as having the highest levels of chemicals in companies’ computer components.

The study, which was conducted in March 2006 by a Danish laboratory, look at five different notebooks: Acer Aspire 5670 Series, the Apple MacBook Pro, the Dell Latitude D810, the HP Pavilion dv4000 Series and the Sony VAIO VGN-FJ Series.

The Sept. 18 study, entitled “Toxic Chemicals in Computers Exposed,” found that an HP Pavilion notebook had high levels of various BFR (brominated flame retardant) chemicals in the components as well as noticeable levels of lead in computer’s soldering.

As for the Apple MacBook Pro that Greenpeace examined, the study found high levels of BFRs in the laptop’s fan.

The chemical BFR has replaced PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls) as a major flame retardant and is used throughout the electronic industry.

Although BFR is an affected flame retardant, Greenpeace and other environmental groups believe that long-term exposure to the chemical can cause harm to the environment and to a person’s health.

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