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Energy-Efficient LEDs are Hazardous Waste

By: Katie Cordrey - Published: Dec 20, 2010 • References: pubs.acs.org and pubs.acs.org
LEDs are touted as an environmentally-friendly light source, but a new study from the University of California has concluded that LEDs are hazardous waste. Eight out of nine 5 mm pin-type LEDs tested were found to leach high levels of copper, nickel, lead or silver.

While finding that burned-out LEDs are hazardous waste, the researchers said that there was no danger to consumers using the products. The problems come at the end of the life cycle: Disposal in landfills causes pollution, so LEDs should be recycled or processed for materials recovery.