The disappearing toxic TV: Sales of lead-laden boob tubes plunge


Remember that monstrous old television that sat in your living room and was almost as thick as it was tall and wide? Those old-school TVs were bad for the brain -- and not just due to the programming. No, the big TVs of yesteryear were also huge containers of toxic lead. Their cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and leaded glass carried as much as five pounds of the heavy metal, which has been linked to brain damage in children, reduced IQs, tremors and cancer. Unfortunately, those boxy old TVs never really went away.

The EPA estimates that of the 704.9 million CRT televisions sold in the U.S. since 1980, roughly 42.4 percent are still in use, reports Popular Mechanics.
But as U.S. owners replace them with newer, sleeker models, only 10 percent of these discarded CRTs are recycled. Disposing of those toxic TVs has been a huge problem in the U.S. and abroad. And in the developing world, sales of cheaply made CRT televisions have remained strong despite the environmental concerns. Now, CRT sales are plunging fast and it finally appears that the end of the CRT era is close at hand. Soon, we will mark the passing of one of the worst contributors of lead contamination to the environment in the age of consumer electronics.