When cell phones are improperly recycled or end up in landfills, it ultimately causes negative effects to nearly every system in the human body. Mobile phones contain harmful toxins including lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, chlorine and bromine, which can leak into the groundwater and bioaccumulate in the food chain causing detrimental damage to the soil, water supply, vegetation, animals and humans.

Lead is found in a wide variety of cell phone components including the circuit boards, batteries and as a stabilizer in PVC products. Lead exposure can cause damage to the reproductive, blood and nervous systems.

Mercury is used in the cell phone’s battery, crystal displays and circuit boards. A single cell phone contains up to 2 grams of mercury. Mercury exposure contributes to brain and kidney damage.

Arsenic is found in the microchips of many electronic devices including mobile phones. In high doses, arsenic poisoning is lethal. Low levels of exposure cause negative impacts on skin, liver, nervous and respiratory systems.

Cadmium is used in the battery of a cell phone. It is associated with deficits in cognition, learning, behavior and neuromotor skills in children. It has also been linked to kidney damage.

Chlorine is a component of plastics used in cell phones, specifically polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC makes up about 30% of the cell phone. Exposure to improperly disposed ­­­­chlorine causes tissue damage and the destruction of cell structure.

Bromine is a component in a group of fire retardant chemicals known as brominated flame retardants. It is associated with cognitive and developmental deficits. Studies have shown that bromine contributes to the disruption in the thyroid hormone balance, brain damage and cancer.

E-waste accounts for 2 to 5 percent of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream and continues to rise by 3 to 5 percent each year, increasing the amount of harmful toxins leaked into our ecosystem. To stop this deadly trend, businesses and individuals need to recycle used cell phones and other electronics only with e-Stewards certified recyclers to ensure their toxic e-waste does not end up in a landfill. e-Stewards is the globally recognized gold standard for responsible electronics recycling.

Due to a lack of legislation in the U.S. prohibiting the export of e-waste, utilizing an e-Stewards certified electronics recycling company is one of the only ways to make certain electronic devices are recycled responsibly and not exported overseas. Visit www.e-Stewards.org to learn more about the e-Stewards Standard and to find a list of e-Stewards certified electronics recyclers.


e-Cycle is the trusted wireless mobile buyback and recycling partner for many of the largest organizations in the world. As the first mobile recycling company to achieve e-Stewards certification, we adhere to the highest standards for environmental responsibility and worker health and safety. e-Cycle offers a simple, secure, environmentally responsible and profitable way for businesses to sell and recycle used mobile phones and tablets. Learn more at www.e-Cycle.com.

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