It is estimated that of the nearly three million tons of cell phones, TVs, and computers that were disposed of in 2008, a mere 16% were recycled. That left a staggering percentage of devices that ended up in landfills. These types of electronics contain numerous toxins including lead, mercury, and cadmium that severely impact ground water and the environment as a whole.
To make matters worse, many so-called 'recyclers' are illegally exporting toxic electronics to underdeveloped nations because it offers the largest potential profit. The devices are then deposited into outdoor storage areas where local citizens, including women and children, use primitive methods to extract the valuable commodities and precious metals. Testing of the air and ground water in these regions has confirmed that they are among the most toxic areas known with the highest concentration of cancer causing agents.