21 August 2006

Dell and Autism

Yes, I'll give it a break after this one, honest! But I couldn't let this one go without a post.

I blogged here about the Daily Express's article asserting that iPods were implicated in the rise in autism. It was of course a completely crass piece of journalism.

Hot on the heels of the Dell battery problem though is this (reasonable) article at Infoworld about Dell's recall of 4.1m batteries and that many of the originals will now be headed for landfill. Now, each of these batteries itself is about as big, if not bigger than a full-size iPod. And, given that in 2004, Apple's iPod sales totalled just 8.4million, and few of those would by now have been recycled, this battery problem alone will surely dwarf any contribution from iPods to landfill?

But fortunately, the article goes on to explain that:
"experts agree the environmental impact will be minimal."

Huh? Apparently, "Lithium ion batteries are benign compared to the toxic ingredients in other rechargeable batteries with nickel-cadmium or small sealed lead-acid chemistries. Those heavy metals include cadmium, mercury and lead, elements that cause human and environmental health threats when they leach into ground water or filter into the air after incineration, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency."

Ah, so Li-ion batteries are NOT a problem then? So, not only, as I pointed out in my original post, are iPods a tiny contribution by weight to any landfills, it would seem that the batteries used in them are considerably less toxic than other types of batteries. Will the Daily Express ever apologise for it's misleading article? Will it ever care to educate it's readership on the real issues about disposing of STUFF? And will the British press run an article denouncing Dell for it's contribution to autism (which is as untrue as the iPod article)?

Will hell freeze over?

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