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Friday, November 07, 2008

“60 Minutes” follows illegal e-waste from U.S. to China

This Sunday’s “60 Minutes” episode takes us to Guiyu, China, one of the world’s most toxic cities, thanks to e-waste exported from countries like the United States. In Guiyu, pregnant women are six times more likely to result in miscarry, and seven out of ten children have overly high levels of toxic lead in their blood.

Importing e-waste is big business in developing countries, where it’s either landfilled (causing massive toxic waste dumps) or “recycled” by workers (often children) earning little to recover gold and other metals by burning the plastics off of electronic parts, exposing workers and the local environment to cancer-causing toxics.

The “60 Minutes” crew filming in China was accosted by thugs who didn’t want them filming at the e-waste site in Guiyu (see preview below, sorry about the commercials).



Some U.S. “recycling” companies are no better. The “60 Minutes” investigation learned the Colorado recycling company they caught on tape exporting CRTs illegally, and “42 other American firms just like it, were recently caught in a government sting. They all offered to break the law by selling such e-waste when solicited by a federal agent posing as a foreign importer.”

Watch the full “60 Minutes” investigation on Sunday, November 9, at 7 p.m. ET/PT, on CBS.

More about e-waste:
Coverage at CNET News
Basel Action Network
Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition

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