These companies are figuring out how to reduce the toxics in electronics


As global consumption of cellphones and other devices soars, industry searches for ways to decrease the threat of chemical components to people and the environment.

On a Wednesday in late February 2010, Hewlett-Packard hosted an unusual training session at its offices in Fort Collins, Colorado. The technology company had decided to eliminate polyvinyl chloride, or PVC — a type of plastic that releases harmful chemicals during production and when burned after disposal — from its power cords. But it realized that to get PVC out of its products, it was going to have to get its suppliers to do so, too. This training was an opportunity for those supplying power cables to the company (now known as HP) to learn about a tool that could help identify alternatives to PVC: GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals. Developed by the nonprofit Clean Production Action, GreenScreen provides a means of comparing hazard assessments of chemicals in order to choose safer alternatives.