It Is Safe to Throw Electronics in Landfills

Even if the natural conditions that prevent leaching did not occur, the sophisticated engineering and monitoring of today's modern municipal landfills, governed by stringent state and federal regulations and performance standards, prevents lead and other heavy metals from leaching. MSW [municipal solid waste] landfills are constructed with thick layers of clay and thick, puncture-resistant liners that keep waste from coming into contact with soil and groundwater. Also, landfills today are constructed with a leachate collection system—a system of pipes that carries any excess leachate out of the landfill and into a separate leachate collection pond where it is then tested and treated. In addition, landfills are surrounded by groundwater monitoring stations which capture samples of groundwater and continuously test for any possible leaks.

In summary, there is no scientific evidence that substances from e-waste present a discernable risk to human health or the environment when disposed of in municipal landfills. Yet widespread fear that lead and other metals in landfills can leach and present a health hazard has provoked lawmakers in a handful of states—California, Maine,

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