California would require manufacturers to phase out the use of
hazardous materials in making cell phones, iPods and other electronic
devices under a bill introduced by a state lawmaker.

The bill
unveiled on Thursday by Assembly Member Lori Saldana, a Democrat from
San Diego, would apply to any electronic or battery-operated device.
The bill, which was introduced on Wednesday, would require
manufacturers to stop using the substances in devices sold in
California by 2008.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors."We know that the manufacturers of these
products are able to produce them without including harmful toxic
materials," Saldana said in a written statement. "California deserves
to be included among the markets that receive this cleaner stream of
consumer electronics."

California already requires manufacturers of video displays in devices to phase out the use of toxic materials.

Environmental groups with clout in the state’s Democrat-led legislature support the bill.

are concerned about pollution from electronic devices discarded in
landfills and want California to follow the example of the European
Union, which has called for phasing out the use of toxic materials in
making consumer electronics.

"Cell phones, iPods, computers and
many other modern electronic devices have a useful life of maybe a year
or two before they become obsolete," said Mark Murray, executive
director of the group Californians Against Waste. "It doesn’t make
sense to use hazardous materials in these disposable devices."

70 percent of toxic heavy metals found in landfills come from
electronic products, which may contain lead, cadmium, chromium and
mercury, according to Californians Against Waste.

"This brew of
toxic substances can damage nervous, kidney and reproductive systems,
while some of the metals contain carcinogens," according a statement
released by the group.

Reuters 2006