Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition

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The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC), is a San Jose, California based research and advocacy group that promotes safe environmental practices in the high tech industry. The organization was founded in 1982 after leaks at manufacturing sites at IBM and Fairchild Electronics were suspected of causing widespread birth defects and health issues in the Silicon Valley.[1]

The group is composed of high tech workers, community members, law enforcement, emergency workers and environmentalists. They aim to educate the masses on best practices for computer recycling and promote corporate social responsibility on subjects ranging from nanotechnology, solar, and consumer e-waste.

Ted Smith, author of Challenging the Chip, founded the organization, but Sheila Davis now spearheads their efforts.

Citizens at Risk[edit]

Citizens at Risk: How Electronic Waste is Poisoning the Path Out of Poverty for India's Recyclers
Citizens at Risk is a 13-minute documentary by the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, Chintan (India), and IMAK (India). It exposes the "global exploitation of the poor by a consumerist society and indifferent, irresponsible manufacturers exporting from the United states and other countries."[2] The film was shot and produced in India and contains English narration. The film premiered at the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition's 2008 benefit.

Projects and investigations[edit]

  • Nano Technology: On April 2, 2008, the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC) released a report exposing the potentially catastrophic impact on the health and environment of the community due to the nanotechnology industry that is running unchecked.
  • Digital TV Switchover: June 12, 2009, is the deadline for the television industry to switch from broadcasting in analog format to digital. It is anticipated that this change will create an enormous wave of e-waste of up to 80 million televisions becoming obsolete and discarded.
  • India E-waste: To help address the global problem of electronic waste SVTC is teaming up with Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group on a research project to document the impact of e-waste on workers and communities in and around Delhi, India.


  • 2004: "Poison PCs and Toxic TVs" details the growing amounts of e-waste piling up in the U.S.. The report includes information about the toxics contained in the computers and monitors and the hazards of improper disposal.
  • 2006: A report exposing the abuse of prison labor in the e-waste recycling industry. For the first time, prison inmates and staff blow the whistle on deplorable health and safety conditions within UNICOR, a controversial government corporation operated under the Department of Justice that uses captive prison labor in a range of industries, including the dismantling of toxic e-waste.
  • 2008: A report regarding the nanotechnology boom and how it mirrors the Silicon Valley semiconductor boom of the early 1980s. According to the report, further studies, legal structure, and safety should be required of nanotechnology companies.[3]
  • 2009: A report entitled "Toward a Just and Sustainable Solar Energy Industry" was released, documenting and analyzing the environmental and health hazards of solar panel systems. It also included recommendations for building a just and sustainable solar energy industry.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]