E-Trash Industry Poses Hazards to Workers

A young scrap worker strips the metal wiring for a pile of circuit boards in Chennai, India. i i

A young scrap worker strips the metal wiring for a pile of circuit boards in Chennai, India. Scott Carney hide caption

itoggle caption Scott Carney
A young scrap worker strips the metal wiring for a pile of circuit boards in Chennai, India.

A young scrap worker strips the metal wiring for a pile of circuit boards in Chennai, India.

Scott Carney
A pile of computers awaits recycling at Trischiraya, a recycling facility in Chennai. i i

A pile of computers awaits recycling at Trischiraya, one of the only green recycling facilities in Chennai, India. Mohammed Hassan hide caption

itoggle caption Mohammed Hassan
A pile of computers awaits recycling at Trischiraya, a recycling facility in Chennai.

A pile of computers awaits recycling at Trischiraya, one of the only green recycling facilities in Chennai, India.

Mohammed Hassan

Each year, Americans throw out millions of computers, cell phones and televisions. Often, this electronic trash ends up in far-flung places around the world, including India.

It is illegal for the United States to export its electronic waste to India, but smugglers find ways to get it into the country and make a profit.

Workers in India take e-trash and process it to extract precious metals. But the waste bears toxic chemicals that can be hazardous to those workers and their communities, and activists say the issue is not getting enough attention.

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