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Less-Toxic Electronics

choosing safer home electronic products to avoid toxic chemicals

Choose computers and televisions made without toxic flame retardants (PBDEs) and other toxic chemicals.

  • Computer companies that have policies to phase out PBDEs and other toxic chemicals include Dell, Hewlett Packard, Apple, and IBM.
  • Sony, Panasonic, Philips, and Samsung have all stopped using PBDEs, and LG Electronics has pledged to stop using PBDEs by 2010.

More and more companies are switching to safer chemicals, so checking with a company before you buy is a good idea.

For more information on companies offering PBDE-free products, see:
Clean Production Action: Alternatives to BFRs
Smart Shopper’s PBDE Card


Choose digital thermometers and thermostats

Replace mercury thermometers, which can be identified by the silver-gray liquid inside. Dispose of products containing mercury at a hazardous waste collection site; to find the site nearest you in Washington, call 1-800-RECYCLE or see http://1800recycle.wa.gov/
If you break a mercury thermometer, electrical switch, or other item containing liquid mercury, follow appropriate clean-up methods, available at the EPA's web site.

Choose low-mercury fluorescent light bulbs

Fluorescent light bulbs are more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs, but they contain mercury. The amount of mercury in fluorescent light bulbs varies widely; choose bulbs that are labeled ‘low mercury’. Also, be very careful when handling fluorescent light bulbs – when broken, they release mercury vapor that cannot be recaptured. Recycle used fluorescent light bulbs at a hazardous waste collection site; to find the site nearest you in Washington, call 1-800-RECYCLE or see http://1800recycle.wa.gov/

For more information on mercury in fluorescent light bulbs, see:
INFORM, Inc.: The Lowdown on Mercury in Fluorescent Bulbs