Urging him to support the Basel Convention agreements. Welcome to Guiyu, China: http://inksolutions.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/child-in-china.jpg http://www.crunchgear.com/wp-content/photos/water.jpg http://media.canada.com/gallery/Greenpeace Guide/1.jpg http://www.ban.org/ban_news/2007/images/070130_could_harm_developing_countries_pic1.jpg http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/image_full/usa/photosvideos/photos/close-up-of-a-huge-pile-of-com.jpg Everyday 130,000 computers are thrown away in the US. Over 100 million phones are thrown away every year. Where do they end up? In places like Guiyu, China which have now become the most polluted places on Earth. Richer nations have been dumping their electronic waste on the extremely poor, with the US being one of the worst offenders. E-waste contains many toxic heavy metals like lead, mercury, and cadmium. Many of the poor routinely mine the E-waste to try to recover precious metals like gold and palladium, but in the process are exposed to all sorts of toxic chemicals. Computer boards are basically grilled on an open flame to melt the soldering for lead, ink cartridges are broken open to try to recover toner (which contains carbon black a known carcinogen), and the plastics that make up e-waste are simply burned. The plastic that makes up many electronic material is halogenated in order to make it fire proof. The problem is that when you try to burn the plastic to get rid of it, it ends up forming highly toxic dioxins, some of which are almost chemically identical to Agent Orange. Out of sight, out of mind right? WRONG. Dioxins have now pretty much polluted the entire planet, every human being on Earth pretty much now has detectable levels on dioxin in their body. Most of the dioxin enters the body through food sources such as fish, beef, chicken, etc. What gives rich countries like the US the right to pollute the poor in India, China, and Africa with their waste? Why should the poor pay for the lifestyle choices of richer nations? It is illegal to ship materials outside of the US that contain lead, but this doesn't stop anything. Government agencies both in China and the US regularly ignore the problem of e-waste. If you are scientist that cares at least one shred at all for the environment please write a letter to your Senator urging them to support the Basel Convention agreements which would prohibit richer nations from dumping their e-waste on the poor. Never have I ever written a letter to a politician before, but upon seeing the absolutely deplorable situations that people in Guiyu must live through because of our excessive lifestyle choices, I felt compelled.