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Greenpeace finds toxic substances in HCL laptop

By Staff
Google Oneindia News

New Delhi, Mar 20 (UNI) Greenpeace today slammed country's largest manufacturer of personal computers HCL for producing such equipment using highly toxic substances that have the potential to impact both the environment and health of end users.

Releasing the findings of its test report 'Analysis of Hazardous Substances in a HCL laptop Computer' to the media, Greenpeace alleged that the laptop had many hazardous substances in its components including lead, PVC, bromine and phthalates.

Demanding an immediate clean up, Greenpeace's toxic campaigner Ramapati Kumar said, ''it is unfortunate that an industry leader like HCL has failed to make its productS toxic free. This company, whose vision is to create the enterprises of tomorrow, still produces hazardous laptops of yesterday.'' ''The company has to live up to its vision and come out with a time-bound plan to remove toxic substances from its products, and make a commitment to introducing a full take-back system for end-of-life products.'' The testing of the laptop showed lead in four of ten electrical solders examined. A wide range of materials contained bromine. Both internal components (some printed circuit boards, the cooling fan, a chip, electrical insulating material, as well as internal plastic sockets for ribbon cables, a pin connector and the external battery) and external components (a mouse button and the external battery casing) were found to contain bromine, it was claimed.

PVC was present in the plastic coatings of all six of the wires and cables tested (both internal and external). Phthalates were present in the outer plastic coating of the cable between the DC power transformer and the laptop, with a very high total concentration of 18 per cent -- almost a fifth of the total weight of the material, it was stated.

Last year, another leading electronics manufacturer in the country Wipro had agreed to phase out highly toxic chemicals and offer RoHS (the European Union directive on the Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment) compliant products from June 1, 2007, Mr Kumar said.

The company had also taken initiative to set up a system to ensure take-back of their e-waste discarded by individual customers.

Global PC manufactures like Dell, HP, Acer, Lenovo and mobile manufacturers like Nokia, Sony, Sony-Ericsson, Samsung and LG have already committed to phase out certain hazardous chemicals from their products with timelines, he added.

Greenpeace wanted the electronics industry to design products that were free from hazardous substances, easy to recycle, and did not expose workers -- both in production and recycling. They must implement individual producer responsibility (IPR) for full take-back of their products at their end of life.

Greenpeace called upon the electronics industry to go beyond the EU RoHS directive and eliminate all hazardous chemicals, including all types of BFRs, phthalates and PVC plastic.

Earlier today Greenpeace activists also presented a giant replica of a HCL laptop to company officials at its office in Noida near here, reminding the company to clean up.

HCL Executive Vice President (Commercial) Suman Ghosh Hazra promised to announce the company's toxics phase out policy in next couple of days.

Later, a company's statement said HCL, as a socially responsible corporate citizen, was committed to ensure protection of environment, health and safety of all its stakeholders. HCL was the first IT manufacturing company to have both its plants ISO 14001 certified. The company had also implemented a comprehensive e-waste disposal policy.

As part of its continuous efforts towards environment protection, HCL had an ongoing programme on voluntary complaince to RoHS directives. Today all HCL laptops currently manufactured were fully RoHS compliant. The company would shortly announce compliance to RoHS directive across all its products, it added.


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