A Toxic Reciprocity: Examining the E-Waste Stream from the United States to China

Christian Cutillo


On February 16, 2006, an ambulance rushed four-year-old Jarnell Brown to a hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The doctor diagnosed Jarnell with a stomach virus and discharged him from the hospital. Two days later, Jarnell was admitted to the hospital, vomiting and severely dehydrated. Ten hours after admission, Jarnell suffered seizures and went into respiratory arrest. A computed tomography (CT) scan revealed a heart-shaped object in his stomach. The next day, Jarnell was clinically brain dead, and the doctors terminated his life support on February 22, 2006. The heart-shaped object removed from Jarnell’s stomach during the autopsy was a small charm. Juanna Graham, Jarnell’s mother, identified the charm as a free gift that had come with a pair of Reebok shoes belonging to a child whose home her son had visited. The charm that took Jarnell’s life consisted of 99.1 percent lead. [1] Reebok subsequently recalled 300,000 similar charms, all manufactured in China. [2]

Poisonous items like the Reebok charms are not the only toxic Chinese imports harming American children. China manufactures eighty percent of the toys sold in the United States. On August 14, 2007, Mattel announced a recallexof nine million Chinese-manufactured toys, like Barbie and Polly Pocket, because of lead paint hazards. This recall came just two weeks after a recall of one and a half million Fisher Price toys, manufactured in China that also contained lead paint. [3]

While toxic imports from China are killing U.S. children, toxic e-waste exports from the U.S. also pose a danger to Chinese children. Over ten thousand miles away from Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Juanna Graham clings to the memory of her son, sits the small Chinese village of Guiyu. The children of Guiyu live with the highest levels of cancer-causing dioxins in the world, and seven out of ten children have too much lead in their blood. [4] This severe toxic poisoning originates in American homes, offices, and even in American pockets: e-waste. E-waste is the informal name for electronic products, like cell phones, televisions, and computers, that are at the end of their “useful life.” [5]

The hazards of e-waste begin with planned obsolescence. When it comes to electronics, newer means better and the industry continuously profits from the Americans’ desire to have the newest electronic products on the market. [6] In the United States, Americans throw out 130,000 computers each day and over 100 million cell phones annually. [7] In fact, the United States generate more e-waste than any other country, roughly 2,124,400 tons per year, almost double that of the next highest country, Germany, which generates 1,100,000 tons each year. [8] All of this “obsolete” electronic garbage ends up in the e-waste stream.

Ironically, e-waste has become more problematic because of the new-found focus on “being green.” Americans, in their earnest attempts to be environmentally responsible, often send their e-waste to recyclers. [9] However, as Americans increase the amount of products recycled, “some so-called recyclers are shipping the waste overseas, where it’s broken down for the precious metals inside.” This is where the village of Guiyu comes in. The illegal shipment of e-waste from the United States to Guiyu results in an extremely primitive recycling system, with women removing computer chips from lead solder over an open flame and men using an ancient acid recipe to retrieve gold from the e-waste. Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist and authority on waste management at the Natural Resources Defense Council, remarked that “we have a situation where we have 21st century toxics being managed in a 17th century environment.” [10]

Even more dangerous than the hazardous methods the workers use in Guiyu are the contents of e-waste: lead, mercury, cadmium, polyvinyl chlorides, and chromium. According to Mr. Hershkowitz, “[a]ll of these materials have known toxicological effects that range from brain damage to kidney disease to mutations, cancers.” [11] Lead, even in low levels of exposure, can cause problems such as brain and kidney damage, as well as slowed cognitive development and reduced growth in children. [12] An old computer monitor can contain up to seven pounds of lead. [13] Mercury can greatly impact fetuses, infants, and children by impairing neurological development, including cognitive thinking, attention span, and motor skills. [14] The short-term effects of cadmium exposure include lung irritation, but the chronic impacts include kidney disease and lung cancer. [15] Polyvinyl chlorides cause short-term effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, and headaches, but over the long term can lead to liver damage and cancer. [16]

With all of the hazards of e-waste, American laws must be implemented to protect people, especially children, in areas like Guiyu. Americans have been up in arms about the deadly toxics flowing from China to the United States. The time has come to both defend Americans from toxic Chinese imports and to prevent American e-waste pollution in China. As a world leader, the United States has the responsibility to take control of the illegal shipment of its e-waste to China. The United States will not only protect the children of China, but also protect American children by ending the cycle of e-waste toxins returning to the United States in the form of contaminated products like lead paint and costume jewelry.

This comment begins with an examination of the economics of e-waste, focusing on the cost-benefit analysis that encourages American recyclers to export e-waste illegally to places like Guiyu. It will show that given the economic incentives to export e-waste, the need for effective e-waste regulation is apparent. This comment then explores current international, domestic, and Chinese e-waste laws, and examines the merits and flaws of each. It concludes with a discussion of possible solutions to the illegal e-waste trade, including a tax on electronic products for the consumer, a liability scheme for the party responsible for the e-waste pollution, and an educational program designed to enhance knowledge of the problems surrounding e-waste trade and pollution.

I. The Economics of E-Waste

Recycling, the process of converting waste into reusable material, can be economically efficient. For example, while the chief motivation to begin recycling aluminum cans was to reduce litter, the concept grew rapidly in popularity when energy prices began to rise in the 1970s, because it took more energy to produce new aluminum than to reuse recycled aluminum. As a result, some companies perceived recycling as the new economically efficient business practice. [17]

Economics also play an important role in decisions on whether to recycle e-waste. To see the cost-benefit analysis in action, one can compare the amount of plastic recycled to the amount of aluminum recycled. As previously noted, recycling aluminum is energy and economically efficient, and recyclers processed about fifty-five percent of aluminum cans in 2000. However, recyclers processed only nine percent of plastics. Plastics are more difficult to recycle than aluminum because, prior to the recycling process, they must be separated into different categories to avoid the mixture of different resins. Economically speaking, the low costs of producing new plastics compared to the time and money exerted in recycling old plastics makes plastic recycling economically inefficient. [18]

E-waste recycling requires a more complicated economic analysis than either plastic or aluminum. Recycling e-waste has economic benefits, including extraction of precious materials from the waste [19] and using old electronic components like metals, plastics, and rechargeable batteries to refurbish old products or make new electronics. [20] Keeping e-waste out of the municipal waste stream is also a valued benefit. Although the EPA believes that disposal of e-waste in properly managed landfills does not harm human health or the environment, the EPA strongly supports

keeping used electronics out of landfills, to recover materials and reduce the environmental impacts and energy demands from mining and manufacturing. Electronics are made from valuable resources, such as precious metals, copper, and engineered plastics, all of which require considerable energy to process and manufacture. Recycling electronics recovers valuable materials and as a result, we reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce pollution, save energy, and save resources by extracting fewer raw materials from the earth. [21]

However, the costs are great, ranging from health and environmental risks to extreme financial liability for building processing facilities. With a cost-benefit analysis like this, it is no wonder that

the rising pressure about e-waste has led many companies in the United States to employ a low-cost escape valve by sending their waste abroad, primarily to Asia. . . . Exporting electronic scrap is profitable because, like sweatshop labor, the costs are low and regulations are lax compared to those in the United States. . . . [S]hipping e-waste to China is ten times cheaper than handling the same waste in the United States . . . [and] it is estimated that fifty to eighty percent of e-waste turned in for “recycling” in the United States is shipped to Asia. [22]

As the costs rise and American recyclers become less able to compete with the cheap labor of Asian recyclers, the incentives to illegally ship e-waste to places like Guiyu increase. As economist Randall Holcombe explains,

Recycling is expensive, and it is often cheaper to start with new materials rather than use recycled ones. That’s why lots of potentially recyclable materials go to the landfill. If labor is cheaper, as in China, it may be economical to recycle stuff there that wouldn’t pay in the US. That’s why they get our e-waste. [23]

Given these economic disincentives to recycle but the very real human health threats e-waste poses, government regulation is appropriate. This comment next examines the existing legal structure governing e-waste.

II. The Current Legal Scheme

The economic discussion reveals the need for effective e-waste regulation. The business incentives that lead American recyclers to irresponsibly export rather than domestically recycle show that, without regulation, the economics of e-waste actually compound the e-waste exportation problem.

A. International Law: The Basel Convention

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal is the most comprehensive international environmental agreement to address the toxic e-waste stream. The Convention calls “for all countries to reduce their exports of hazardous wastes and to handle their own waste problems within national borders, as much as possible.” [24] It requires its signatories to “[e]nsure that the generation of hazardous wastes . . . is reduced to a minimum” and to “ensure the availability of adequate disposal facilities, for the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes . . . .” When considering the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes, the Basel Convention requires its signatories to “[n]ot allow the export of hazardous wastes” to non-parties or to fellow parties if there is “reason to believe that the wastes in question will not be managed in an environmentally sound manner . . . .” [25]

While the Basel Convention does not specifically list e-waste as a targeted waste, it does regulate materials that include lead, mercury, chromium, cadmium, or a compound of any of these elements. Since these materials are found in most electronic goods, the Basel Convention covers e-waste.

In 1994, the Basel Convention enacted the Basel Ban, forbidding all hazardous waste exports from the twenty-nine wealthiest and most influential countries belonging to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to non-OECD countries.The Basel Ban also prohibits hazardous waste exports from OECD countries to non-OECD countries destined for recycling or recovery operations. [26] With no recycling loophole left open, the Basel Ban contemplates that all recycling of waste produced in OECD countries will occur in OECD countries.

Unfortunately, the United States is the only developed nation that has not ratified and signed both the Basel Convention and the Basel Ban. [27] In fact, since the inception of Basel negotiations, the United States has strongly opposed the concept of a “no-exceptions waste trade ban . . . with the aim of ending the practice of dumping hazardous wastes on poorer countries in avoidance of paying the high costs of more appropriate waste management.” [28] In 1992, the Senate considered ratification of the Basel Convention. The Bush Administration proposed implementation of the Basel Convention, but the 102ndCongress did not pass the required legislation. Although Congress supported enhancing U.S. controls over the e-waste trade, no subsequent Congress has addressed the issue. [29]

B. U.S. Domestic Law

In the United States, there is no federal law that focuses exclusively on e-waste. [30] The lack of a comprehensive federal law leaves the states free to make, or not make, laws regarding e-waste. The lack of a unified, federal standard is problematic for many reasons. Most obviously, some states would allow the exportation of e-waste to places like Guiyu, which would encourage recycling businesses to flock to those states, resulting in a race to the bottom.

Nevertheless, nineteen states have enacted legislation targeting e-waste recycling, including Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Texas, and Washington. [31] Washington was the first state to require electronics manufacturers to fund e-waste recycling. [32] This recycling program increases “producer responsibility,” where the producer passes the cost of recycling on to the consumer through the product’s cost and then must recycle the product at the end of its useful life. [33] Almost all the states that have passed e-waste statutes include similar requirements. [34] Cities have also started passing e-waste legislation. On April 1, 2008, New York City became the nation’s first municipality to pass e-waste legislation, banning e-waste disposal into the solid waste stream and requiring manufacturers to create a collection program for everyone who wishes to recycle their e-waste. [35]

C. Chinese Domestic Law

The Chinese legal system’s treatment of e-waste begins with the China Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS). The Chinese government enacted the China RoHS in response to growing concerns about e-waste and planned to implement the law in phases. Phase 1 went into effect on March 1, 2007, and is currently the only phase that has been implemented. The first phase focuses only on labeling and information disclosure requirements. While this is a step in the right direction, it is not enough. The second phase involves cataloging substance restrictions, but there is currently no information regarding when this phase will go into effect. [36]

Nevertheless, the China RoHS has potentially broad applicability. It covers the “production, sale, and import of ‘electronic information products’.” Because the categories of electronic information products are anything but clear, the Chinese Ministry of Information Industry issued the “Electronic Information Products Classification and Explanations,” which listed 1,800 specific products. The China RoHS, rather than simply regulating e-waste, regulates “pollution caused by electronic information products.” This term is defined as:

electronic information products containing toxic, harmful substances or elements, or the toxic, harmful substances or elements contained in the electronic information products is above the standard of the state or industry and have caused damage, injury, waste or other harmful effects on the environment, resource, human health and property safety. [37]

Such a complicated definition demonstrates that the China RoHS is vague, confusing, and poorly drafted. However, the broadness of the China RoHS could provide benefits such as including more toxic e-waste than a narrower directive.

While the China RoHS is a step in the right direction, it is a far cry from fixing the e-waste situation. First, until the Chinese government moves past the first phase of the RoHS, the focus remains solely on labeling and information disclosure requirements. While this is beneficial for educating the public, it is hardly the kind of aggressive legislation needed to battle the e-waste problem.

Second, the China RoHS lacks efficiency. A variety of “governmental departments have been assigned the task of ensuring compliance with the provisions of the enactment. This can lead to red tape, corruption, inefficiency, confusion as to powers, duties and jurisdiction, and unaccountability.” [38] If the Chinese government were to assign one particular agency to ensure compliance with the RoHS, or if varied agencies each had a specific task, then the government could achieve the goals of the RoHS in a simpler and more cost-effective manner.

Third, the China RoHS permits the “manufacturer or importer to determine the environment-friendly use period of electronic information products.” Such a system gives manufacturers incentives to assign a higher environment-friendly use period to their products than is actually warranted. A more objective approach would involve chemical testing and monitoring by a governmental task force. [39]

Considering these problems, it is evident why China is facing extreme hurdles when it comes to e-waste management. Not only is the legislation poorly implemented, but it is not even focused on e-waste management. While it is the poor management of the e-waste imported into China that is causing the many health problems of the Chinese people in areas like Guiyu, the Chinese government is doing little to provide a solution to this grave problem.

III. Proposed Solutions

Many have suggested that activists play a crucial role in the reduction of e-waste export and pollution. Activists have pressured electronics manufacturers to take responsibility for their products as those products morph from hot, new consumer goods to deadly e-waste, and in some ways they have been successful. For example, as a result of activist pressure, companies have taken measures to become more environmentally friendly. Apple now designs more easily recyclable laptops by reducing toxic elements like lead and mercury in its products, and Sony vows to work only with recyclers that do not export their e-waste. Through an in-store recycling program with Staples, Dell offers free recycling of its products to consumers and employs environmental-audit firms to check up on its recyclers. [40]

While these developments seem like a bright beginning to tackling the problem, exportation of e-waste often continues due to weak regulation. The problem begins with the fact that, under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the EPA regulations focus solely on cathode ray tubes (CRT), while other e-waste flows out of the country virtually unrestricted. Even with a cathode ray tube regulation in effect, the EPA’s enforcement is “lacking.” A Government Accountability Office sting confirms EPA’s deficient enforcement:

Posing as fictitious buyers from Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, Singapore, and Vietnam, among other countries, we found 43 electronics recyclers in the United States who were willing to export to us broken, untested, or nonworking CRTs under conditions that would appear to violate the CRT rule.

In fact, only three American companies told the GAO investigators that they would not export CRTs. [41]

Possibly the worst revelation to surface as a result of the GAO sting was that some of the companies eager to illegally export CRTs hold themselves out to the American public as environmentally conscious, with at least three of these companies hosting Earth Day events. Despite manufacturers’ well-meaning policies, many American recycling companies are not doing what they are promising.

Executive Recycling, a company based out of Denver, is one example. Executive Recycling held a massive electronics recycling event, with many people waiting for hours to drop off their e-waste in earnest attempts to do the right thing. Executive Recycling won a contract with the City of Denver to satisfy its recycling needs and expanded operations to three other western states, primarily because of the company’s promise that “your e-waste is recycled properly, right here in the U.S. – not simply dumped on somebody else.” Nevertheless, shipping containers filled with CRTs, each containing several pounds of lead, were leaving Executive Recycling in a steady stream to Hong Kong. Shortly after Executive Recycling’s CEO Brandon Richter told 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley that “a child died over there breaking this material down, just getting all these toxins,” Pelley informed him that 60 Minutes had followed Executive shipping containers filled with CRTs to Hong Kong. Richter denied any involvement. However, Executive Recycling’s illegal environmental practices did not stop. In fact, Executive Recycling was one of the companies involved in the GAO sting, offering to sell 1,500 CRT monitors and 1,200 CRT televisions to a fictitious broker in Hong Kong. [42]

To address the economic incentives that lead American recyclers to export the e-waste to areas like Guiyu, the United States should place a special tax on electronic products. This tax revenue should assist American recycling companies with expanding their operations to be able to deal with the massive increase in e-waste. The government should also set aside a percentage of the money to pay for the enforcement of new legislation that makes e-waste exportation illegal. Another policy to eliminate the economic incentives that entice American recyclers to export would be to fine e-waste exporters, requiring the fine to be at least as great as the economic advantage of violating the law.

In dealing with the e-waste problem, legislation must determine who is responsible for bearing the cost of recycling. The two most popular cost apportionment schemes are the Advance Recovery Fee (ARF) scheme or the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme. A government implementing an ARF scheme collects a fee from consumers who have purchased electronic items and then redistributes these fees to both private and public electronic recycling facilities, thereby shifting the financial burden of recycling away from manufacturers. However, if the fees collected are not enough to cover the costs of recycling, then the financial burden shifts to the taxpayers. While the simplistic design of an ARF scheme makes it attractive, it becomes problematic if the recycling fees shift to the taxpayers. [43]

Conversely, the EPR scheme follows the “polluter pays” principle, which allocates financial responsibility for pollution to the producers of the electronics, while the retailers and customers face no risk of financial responsibility for the e-waste. Although “polluter pays” is a common principle in environmental law and encourages manufacturers to produce more environmentally friendly products, the EPR scheme is not perfect. The EPR scheme releases consumers and retailers, two massive emitters of e-waste, from any liability. [44] Because the individual who dumps his or her personal computer incurs no liability, the policy essentially encourages consumer e-waste dumping. The EPR scheme unjustly places all liability on the companies, which lose control of the electronics after retailers sell them to consumers or other retailers.

The manufacturer should not automatically bear the cost of both recycling and cleaning up contaminated areas. A plan that incorporates the elements of an ARF scheme would be most beneficial to solving the e-waste problem. The consumer should largely fund environmental clean-up and protection from e-waste pollution because, without the consumer, e-waste would not have a market and would not be a pollutant. However, while collecting fees from consumers is a good start, it is not enough. The party holding the e-waste at the time of contamination should be held liable. For example, if a recycler accepts the e-waste and ships it in violation of regulations, that recycler should be held financially responsible for the damage resulting from the improper disposal. Analogously, if a consumer illegally dumps a box of electronic items, then liability in that instance should attach to the consumer.

Under this proposed scheme, not only would the consumer pay a fee, such as the recommended tax, but liability would also attach to the person responsible for the improper disposal of the e-waste. This scheme closely mimics the liability of the potentially responsible parties under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, more commonly known as the Superfund or CERCLA. Mimicking CERCLA is likely to be effective in battling e-waste pollution; over the past twenty years, by using CERCLA, the EPA has “located and analyzed tens of thousands of hazardous waste sites, protected people and the environment from contamination at the worst sites, and involved others in cleanup.” [45]

Another way to combat the e-waste problem is by implementing a dual educational program designed to increase awareness of both the Americans and people in regions like Guiyu. Due to economic realities, the people of Guiyu are willing to work for $8 per day while risking their lives. [46] Economist Randall Holcombe has commented on this economic phenomenon:

Some businesses are dirtier and more dangerous than others. Recycling may be one of those businesses. Coal mining is another, and lots of that is done in the United States. Poorer people will be more willing to take on those jobs because the pay they get will increase their standards of living, whether they are West Virginia coal miners or Guiyu recyclers. Well-meaning individuals, with lots of human capital and high-paying jobs are sometimes slow to see that regulating people out of those dangerous and dirty jobs deprives them of the best economic opportunity they have to improve their standards of living, and to give their children more opportunities than they have. [47]

Although these workers may appreciate the monetary benefits of their work, through a required educational program, they can learn of the toxic nature of the methods that they use and the health hazards associated with the metals they constantly handle and inhale.

An educational program could provide the basis for bottom-up social changes by motivating the workers to demand higher wages and safer working conditions for e-waste recycling, which in turn could motivate the industry and governments to take measures. If the workers rose up to demand pay raises and protective working conditions, they could erase the economic incentive of cheap labor for American companies to send their e-waste to regions like Guiyu.

The American people also need an e-waste education. Not only do Americans need to learn of the horrors of places like Guiyu, but they also need to understand the importance of recycling domestically with an environmentally conscious recycling company as a method of ensuring greater protection to human health and the environment. The United States government can effectively implement this e-waste education program through television or internet commercials, because the people exposed to the information through these channels are likely to be those whom the campaign needs to target.

Ultimately, the United States needs a comprehensive, federal law governing e-waste. A uniform scheme will eliminate the “race to the bottom” between U.S. states. However, the problem of e-waste remains one of global scale, where the wealthiest nations are taking economic and environmental advantage of the developing nations. The United States should become a party to the Basel Ban to indicate its willingness to prevent domestic recyclers from sending our e-waste to the poorest countries.

While these proposals focus on creating legislation designed to prevent the e-waste problem, such proposals would take years to implement and enforce properly. Meanwhile, there is much we can do right now. The individual American needs to focus on getting back to the basics: reduce, reuse, recycle.

To begin, we can reduce our consumption. The “newer is better” mindset of the consumer and the planned obsolescence marketing scheme of the manufacturer need to be changed. Manufacturers can also partake in the reduction scheme by reducing the amount of harmful toxins in their products.

Altering such consumptive mindsets and marketing schemes will also help achieve the reuse requirement. If there is less focus on throwing out the perfectly working computer or cell phone simply to get the newest gadget, Americans will begin to reuse more. Moreover, when the time comes to actually get a new product, many charities accept old electronic items and refurbish them for those in need. For example, Hopeline from Verizon Wireless has donated 23,000 no-longer-used cell phones to victims of domestic violence. Companies like Envirocycle also encourage reuse by maximizing the use of recycled plastic in their products and using minimal packaging, printed in vegetable based inks on recycled and compostable stock.

Finally, if reduction or reuse is not an option, recycling through a wholly domestic, environmentally conscious recycling company can help to mitigate e-waste destruction. Companies like Total Reclaim, based in the Pacific Northwest, have laid the foundation for other companies to take a stand and recycle in an ethical, environmentally conscious way. Total Reclaim processes the e-waste and separates it into various raw materials, such as plastics, glass, copper, and aluminum. Those raw materials become “commodities” and are reused in the manufacture of new products. Environmentally conscious domestic recyclers, like Total Reclaim, through the use of advanced technology, highly trained personnel, and considerable effort, recover toxic materials present in e-waste and prevent harm to human health and the environment.


While Juanna Graham will forever cherish the memory her four-year-old son, Jarnell Brown, who died from lead poisoning from a toxic Chinese import, mothers throughout Guiyu mourn the loss of their children who die from lead poisoning from toxic American e-waste. The toxic reciprocity between China and America must come to a close. Americans have the ability to end our side of this toxic reciprocity. We must rise to the challenge and act now to prevent the continuing toxic e-waste stream to China.

[1] Center for Disease Control, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Death of a Child After Ingestion of a Metallic Charm (Mar. 23, 2006).

[2] U.S. Consumer Public Safety Commission, Reebok Recalls Bracelet Linked to Child’s Lead Poisoning Death (Mar. 23, 2006).

[3] Mattel Issues New Massive China Toy Recall, Associated Press, Aug. 14, 2007.

[4] Following the Trail of Toxic E-Waste, 60 Minutes, Aug. 30, 2009.

[5] California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, What is E-Waste?, Aug. 31, 2005.

[6] See Catherine K. Lin, Linan Yan & Andrew N. Davis, Globalization, Extended Producer Responsibility and the Problem of Discarded Computers in China: An Exploratory Proposal for Environmental Protection, 14 Geo. Int’l Envtl. L. Rev. 525, 530 (2002).

[7] Following the Trail of Toxic E-Waste, 60 Minutes, Aug. 30, 2009.

[8] Ewasteguide.info, International E-Waste Generation, 2009 (this data is collected from various years and by using differing methodologies and is therefore primarily used as an illustrative estimate).

[9] Environmental Protection Agency, General Information on E-Waste, June 23, 2010.

[10] Following the Trail of Toxic E-Waste, 60 Minutes, Aug. 30, 2009.

[11] Id.

[12] Environmental Protection Agency, Lead Compounds, April 14, 2010.

[13] Bryan Walsh, E-Waste Not, Time, Jan. 8, 2009.

[14] Environmental Protection Agency, Mercury: Health Effects, Oct. 1, 2010.

[15] Environmental Protection Agency, Cadmium Compounds, Nov. 6, 2007.

[16] Environmental Protection Agency, Vinyl Chloride, Nov. 6, 2007.

[17] Jane S. Shaw, Recycling, in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics (David Henderson ed., 2008).

[18] Id.

[19] Lin et al., supra note 6, at 526.

[20] Environmental Protection Agency, General Information on E-Waste, June 23, 2010.

[21] Id.

[22] Jennifer Kutz, Comment, You’ve Got Waste: The Exponentially Escalating Problem of Hazardous E-Waste, 17 Vill. Envtl. L.J. 307, 312–15 (2006).

[23] Informational Interview on the Economics of E-Waste with Randall G. Holcombe, DeVoe L. Moore Professor of Economics, Florida State University (Apr. 20, 2010).

[24] Kutz, supra note 22, at 315.

[25] The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes & Their Disposal, art. 4, para. 2, Mar.22, 1989, 28 I.L.M. 657.

[26] Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes & Their Disposal, Second Conference of the Parties, Decision II/12(1), Mar. 25, 1994.

[27] Basel Action Network, Country Status/Waste Trade Ban Agreements, Aug. 25, 2010.

[28] Basel Action Network, Why the US Must Ratify the Entire Basel Convention (or not at all), June 1998.

[29] Mary Tiemann, Waste Trade and the Basel Convention: Background and Update, Dec. 30, 1998.

[30] Manasvini Krishna & Pratiksha Kulshrestha, The Toxic Belt: Perspectives on E-Waste Dumping in Developing Nations, 15 U.C. Davis J. Int’l L. & Pol’y 71, 82 (2008) (describing the current state of federal e-waste law in the United States).

[31] 415 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 150/5 (2010); Mich. Comp. Laws § 324.17301 (2010); N.J. Stat. Ann. § 13:1E-99.94 (2010); Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. § 361.951 (2007); Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 70.95N.030 (2010). The other states that have passed legislation regarding e-waste recycling are: Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

[32] Ann Dornfeld, E-Waste Law: Manufacturers Pay for Recycling, NPR, Feb. 2, 2009.

[33] Washington State Department of Ecology, E-Cycle Washington (2010).

[34] Californians Against Waste, E-Waste Laws in Other States (2010).

[35] Id.

[36] Krishna & Kulshrestha, supra note 30, at 83–86 (analyzing the China RoHS).

[37] Id.

[38] Id.

[39] Id.

[40] Walsh, supra note 13.

[41] United States Government Accountability Office, Electronic Waste: Harmful U.S. Exports Flow Virtually Unrestricted Because of Minimal EPA Enforcement and Narrow Regulation, GA0-08-1166T (2008).

[42] Following the Trail of Toxic E-Waste, 60 Minutes, Aug. 30, 2009.

[43] Krishna & Kulshrestha, supra note 30, at 91 (describing the ARF and EPR cost apportionment schemes).

[44] Id.

[45] Environmental Protection Agency, Superfund: Basic Information, Oct. 1, 2010.

[46] Following the Trail of Toxic E-Waste, 60 Minutes, Aug. 30, 2009.

[47] Interview with Randall Holcombe.

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