PBDE Flame Retardants are have recently come under intense scrutiny. The chemicals, used in a huge variety of manufactured goods, have been linked to health problems both human and environmental. These chemicals, while intended to protect from fire, can be indirectly inhaled or absorbed and lead to cancer, developmental problems, and breathing issues.

Flame Retardants Are Everywhere

And we still don’t know how they affect us

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently reached out to Cleanlites in hopes of furthering understanding of these materials and their presence in everyday electronics. A study done at the University of Houston recently found the presence of such flame retardants in consumer electronics to play a role in obesity and other health complications. The goal of our friends at NIOSH was to better determine if the daily de-manufacturing and shredding of these items caused elevated levels of the flame retardants to persist in the atmosphere, on the clothing, and in the vicinity of our facility floor.

Our Electronics Recycling Facility will Help Further Research

NIOSH spent two days conducting tests, talking with workers, and taking samples at our Northland electronic waste recycling facility. This is just one example of how Cleanlites aims to be at the forefront of safety and health. While already meeting and in fact exceeding many federal EPA regulations, Cleanlites often aims to go farther in keeping our employees safe.

PBDE Flame retardants are present in almost every electronic device made. This is because oftentimes electrical circuits can get hot, overload, and in some cases catch fire. The widespread use of these chemicals not only assures household safety but also improves overall longevity of the electronic devices. However, the recycling of electronic devices is often not considered in the manufacturing and development of electronics.

We hope that NIOSH finds helpful and conclusive evidence in viewing our electronic recycling facilities. The widespread use of industrial chemicals is a complicated and multi-faceted aspect in any industry making it all the more important to implement careful and comprehensive research techniques. We appreciate the opportunity to work with NIOSH and we always look forward to pushing the envelope in safety and sustainability.