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CALIFORNIA BRIEFING / SACRAMENTO

Agencies throw out toxic trash

November 19, 2008|Patrick McGreevy

Despite official claims that state government is becoming more environmentally friendly, the Department of Justice, Highway Patrol, Caltrans and other agencies have been improperly disposing of electronic devices, creating a potential hazardous waste problem at landfills, state auditors said Tuesday.

The audit said the actions were contrary to state regulations.

"Because e-waste can contain toxic metals such as lead and mercury, these state agencies may have contributed to environmental contamination that can pose a threat to public health and safety," the audit concluded.

The Department of Motor Vehicles and the Employment Development Department improperly disposed of 26 electronic devices between January 2007 and July 2008, according to the report by State Auditor Elaine Howle.

The agencies admitted discarding some e-waste in the trash. One CHP unit reported that it threw 354 electronic devices in the trash, including stereos, fax machines and cameras.

-- Patrick McGreevy

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