Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Spent Batteries From U.S. Put Mexicans’ Health at Risk

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
Home » Discuss » Latest Breaking News Donate to DU
 
alp227 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-08-11 08:53 PM
Original message
Spent Batteries From U.S. Put Mexicans’ Health at Risk
Source: NYT

The spent batteries Americans turn in for recycling are increasingly being sent to Mexico, where their lead is often extracted by crude methods that are illegal in the United States, exposing plant workers and local residents to dangerous levels of a toxic metal.

The rising flow of batteries is a result of strict new Environmental Protection Agency standards on lead pollution, which make domestic recycling more difficult and expensive, but do not prohibit companies from exporting the work and the danger to countries where standards are low and enforcement is lax.

Mexican environmental officials acknowledge that they lack the money, manpower and technical capacity to police a fast-growing industry now operating in many parts of the country, often in dilapidated neighborhoods like the one here, 30 miles northwest of Mexico City.

Batteries are imported through official channels or smuggled in to satisfy a growing demand for lead, once cheap and readily available but now in short global supply. Lead batteries are crucial to cellphone towers, solar power arrays and the exploding Chinese car market, and the demand for lead has increased as much as tenfold in a decade.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/09/science/earth/recycle...



How can Americans whine about all those illegal immigrants from Mexico without thinking about how this country has been trashing that country for years, from NAFTA to corn welfare to exporting our toxic waste there.
Refresh | +10 Recommendations Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-08-11 08:55 PM
Response to Original message
1. I didn't know there was a market for exploding Chinese cars. n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
bluedigger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-08-11 09:10 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Is there any other kind?
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
IDemo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-08-11 09:44 PM
Response to Original message
3. E-waste "recycling" in places like Africa and India is horrific
The planet's poor are bearing the brunt of the environmental costs. Recycling isn't always as clean and Green as it's presented to be.

It seems to me that a genuine effort by industrialized nations to handle electronics and battery waste with a modern and efficient recycling process would pay for itself multiple times over.

http://inhabitat.com/electronics-recycling-101-the-prob... /
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 07:13 AM
Response to Original message
4. Lead in used U.S. batteries put Mexicans at risk
Source: New York Times

Originally published Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 8:49 PM
Lead in used U.S. batteries put Mexicans at risk

The spent batteries Americans turn in for recycling are increasingly being sent to Mexico, where their lead is often extracted by crude methods that are illegal in the United States, exposing plant workers and local residents to dangerous levels of a toxic metal.

By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL
The New York Times

NAUCALPAN DE JUÁREZ, Mexico — The spent batteries Americans turn in for recycling are increasingly being sent to Mexico, where their lead is often extracted by crude methods that are illegal in the United States, exposing plant workers and local residents to dangerous levels of a toxic metal.

The rising flow of batteries is a result of strict new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards on lead pollution that make domestic recycling more difficult and expensive but do not prohibit companies from exporting the work.

Mexican environmental officials acknowledge that they lack the money, staffing and technical capacity to police a fast-growing industry operating in many parts of the country, often in dilapidated neighborhoods such as the one here, 30 miles northwest of Mexico City.

Lead batteries are crucial to cellphone towers, solar-power arrays and the growing Chinese car market, and the demand for lead has increased as much as tenfold in a decade.



Read more: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/20169...
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
pinto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 07:13 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. A good, blunt heads up to Mexican regulators to up their recycling standards.
We're all in this together... :hi:
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Lasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 07:13 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. Strange, how the lead in used Mexican batteries don't seem to put them at risk.
Surely they must recycle some that have been used by Mexicans.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
TheMadMonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 07:13 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Strange how the US consumes damned near everything, inc. lead...
...at a rate many times that of the rest of the world.

And it chucks it all away at an even greater rate.

Total Mexican lead consumption is probably only a few percent of the amount the US ships over the border for recycling.




Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Lasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 07:13 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Everybody wants to consume.
Edited on Fri Dec-09-11 03:56 AM by Lasher
That doesn't make every single Mexican problem the fault of the US.

Mexico needs to tackle this problem like China is doing, by shutting down polluting lead recycling plants. Maybe China needed to do that partly because Mexico has been sending Hong Cong some of the used batteries it has imported from the US.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
TheMadMonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 07:13 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. True enough. But far too many Americans deliberately OVERCONSUME...
...just to demonstrate their superiority.

America bought the shit, America is responsible for the shit for the entire product life cycle. It doesn't get to find the cheapest dumping ground and then just wash its hands.

Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Lasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 07:13 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. Wait a minute, Mexicans want those used batteries.
Who are we to say they can't buy them? And it's not a dumping ground, these batteries are being recycled. That's a good thing, right? Mexico is just doing it wrong. This recycling can and should be done right.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
TheMadMonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. So anyone who's desperate enough to risk their own lives for your...
...convenience is fine with you? How very GOP of you.

Yeah it can and should be done right. AT HOME. But provided someone somewhere else is desperate enough to do it for less $, regardless of other costs, it fucking well won't be.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Lasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 09:50 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. So what do you do with your own depleted batteries?
I'll bet you don't recycle them in your personal smelting plant AT HOME, do you? Why not, because it's cheaper to have someone else do it? By your own logic, others are risking their lives for your convenience and that's just fine with you.

What a silly argument.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
TheMadMonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 07:12 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. Do you really want a pissing match? Stop deliberately misinterpretting...
...my words. Home, as in, the nation which created the polluting material. But that's not the American way is it? The American way is to demonstrate superiority through deliberate wastefulness, and then leave the mess for others to deal with.

BTW: I save my batteries, out of the weather so the cases aren't degraded. And when I have enough to make the trip worthwhile, I take them to a recycler. A recycler who is regulated out the wazoo.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Lasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 10:46 AM
Response to Reply #14
17. It is a legitimate appeal to the principle of similar circumstances.
And you have shown no meaningful difference. You outsource your battery recycling to others. The US is doing the very same thing on an international scale. In this case there is no moral or legal obligation for the consumer, whether it is an individual or a nation, to perform the actual recycling themselves.

According to the familiar meme you are repeating, it's always the responsibility of the US when there's a problem in Mexico, and never the fault of the Mexicans themselves. I don't buy into that.

I don't think Mexicans are so incompetent that they incapable of running their own country. And I don't believe they want to be governed like a US colony. Nobody is forcing them to take these used batteries and the US recycling jobs that go with them. But in your misguided empathy, you want to deny them that option in order to protect them from themselves.

As you have noted, we promote safe recycling standards in the USA. Other nations, even infamously polluting China, are taking their own steps to protect themselves from lead contamination. I want Mexico to do the same and I think this is a reasonable expectation.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
TheMadMonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 08:56 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. I outsource to a responsible recycler. The US outsources ALWAYS...
...(or close enough as makes no matter) to the monetarily cheapest (to it) provider, regardless of hidden costs, or cost burdens which might have to be met by others.

"There is no moral obligation" huh? So the fact that Somalia was in civil war and in no position to stop the dumping of European waste in the fisheries that European (amongst others) first stripped bare was their lookout, and not the responsibity of the fishing fleets and dumpers?

Misouri farmers have no moral obligation not to over fertilise, which causes dead zones in the Gulf?

If there is no one present to stop me, I have no moral obligation not to shit in your letterbox?


Not at all, a good many of Mexico's pollution woes are indeed Mexico's alone. However, where the two intersect, the track record of the US is not at all good. Not good at all. When local regulators did put a stop to simply dumping unwanted muck in the nearest hole, river or other body of water, the dumpers simply found a country where the regulations didn't forbid such practices and shipped it there if it was cheaper to do so, than to process the waste domestically.

It's not about Mexican/developing/third world incompetence. It's about Americans (or anyone) with the whip hand declaring, "This is what we want. This is the price we're offering. If you don't want it, we'll take our business to someplace which is willing to operate on our terms." And it's not just Mexico. It's child labour and your Egyptian cotton sheets, your hand loomed "Persian" rugs, your Nikes and Reeboks, (not to mention your $10 Walmart specials), your iPods & iPhones, etcetera, bloody etcetera.


BULL FUCKING SHIT! At best you promote safe recycling/waste disposal standards WITHIN the United States. And even that is highly debatable.

Your attitude is exactly why jobs in the US are being shipped overseas. The Mexicans aren't stealing them. YOU AND YOUR COUNTRYMEN are throwing them away because YOU and people like you don't want to pay the true cost of your materialistic desires. Cheaper labour, lower regulatory costs is all that matters to people like you and anyone who lacks the power to stop you deserves to be exploited.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Lasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-12-11 06:35 AM
Response to Reply #18
20. Australia’s big export – lead poison
Edited on Mon Dec-12-11 06:39 AM by Lasher
7 June 2002

Australia’s Federal and State Governments and lead producers should be held accountable for the export of poisonous lead and the high rates of contamination in humans and environments in third world countries, according to the country’s leading campaigner on the issue. We exported 672,000 tonnes of lead worth A$637m in FY 2000 - 2001.

Elizabeth O'Brien said the 4th international lead poisoning prevention conference in Washington DC - "Global Dimensions of Lead" - run by the National Safety Council of the USA, heard that the rate of lead poisoning in India, where many lead batteries have been exported for recycling, was massive.

A survey found that half of the 32,000 Indian people so far blood tested had been found to be lead poisoned, and 90 per cent of the children involved in recycling lead acid batteries were also found to be poisoned.

http://www.lead.org.au/mr/20020607No%201.html

That was back when you exported one third of your lead acid batteries to other countries. Australia has only recently developed adequate domestic capacity to recycle these batteries so that none of them would be shipped overseas.

Australia shipped their used batteries to countries where children did the actual recycling work and you have the guts to preach to me because the USA sends batteries to be recycled in Mexico? Shame on you.

And what happens when you outsource lithium batteries to your responsible recycler? Do you even know they are being 'dumped', as you characterize it, in another country?
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
FreakinDJ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 07:13 AM
Response to Reply #4
9. Its America's fault for not attaching Environmental Rules to NAFTA
and Labor Regulations
and Human Rights Laws
and many other basic human rights considerations that the Wealthy Elite in Mexico just do not feel the Working Peasant Class in Mexico deserve.

Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Drahthaardogs Donating Member (482 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 07:28 AM
Response to Original message
15. This is Mexico's fault, not ours. Mexico is a oligarchy, has been since before Pancho Villa.
It is why Pancho rode against the Hacienda owners (much like our OWS movement today, except Pancho was not nearly so peace-loving). This is what happens when people do not rise up against a corrupt government. That government will not pass environmental laws to ensure that their society is safe because it causes lost funds to the elite rich. The Mexican people need a new revolution, they have needed one for almost a century now.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
Hotler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. We need a revolution also.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
tabasco Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 11:45 PM
Response to Original message
19. Spent batteries from Mexico too. n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Fri Dec 19th 2014, 05:55 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Latest Breaking News Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC