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Study: Toxic Chemicals Found In Smartphones

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An employee shows an Apple's iPhone 4s (L) and a Samsung's Galaxy S3 (R) at a mobile phone shop. (Photo by JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/GettyImages)

An employee shows an Apple’s iPhone 4s (L) and a Samsung’s Galaxy S3 (R) at a mobile phone shop. (Photo by JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/GettyImages)

SEATTLE (CBS Seattle) – A new study that tested almost 40 different cell phones found that every single one came with chemical hazards.

The research, conducted by HealthyStuff.org and IFixIt.com, also found that the iPhone 2G was the most toxic phone of all the ones examined.

“Even the best phones from our study are still loaded with chemical hazards,” Jeff Gearhart, research director at the Ecology Center and founder of HealthyStuff.org, was quoted as saying. “These chemicals, which are linked to birth defects, impaired learning and other serious health problems, have been found in soils at levels 10 to 100 times higher than background levels at e-waste recycling sites in China.”

He added, “We need better federal regulation of these chemicals, and we need to create incentives for the design of greener consumer electronics.”

In all, 36 phones were reportedly tested, that represented 10 different manufacturers. Motorola, Apple, Nokia Corporation and Palm phones were all included in the team’s research.

Most of the phones examined were released within the last five years, a release posted on HealthyStuff.org stated.

The phones were dissected, to determine the content of the materials used to build them. Each phone reportedly had either lead, bromine, mercury, cadmium, chlorine, or some combination of those chemicals.

According to researchers, these materials are dangerous from the time they are processed and used in assembling the phones to when they are disposed and recycled after users are done with them.

“Consumer demand for more sustainable mobile phones is driving companies to produce better products,” Gearhart asserted. “We also need better federal and international policy to manage both chemicals and e-waste, as well as to promote sustainable design.”

Manufacturers are allegedly getting the hint, however – the study learned that less hazardous resins, arsenic-free glass and mercury-free LCD displays are all being used in the making of new phones, in addition to other safer materials.

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