Daily Archives: February 28, 2016

Fake Microchips Coming from Guiyu

Guiyu, with a population of about 150,000, is located in Guang Dong Province, China and is the world capital of e-waste, much of which is repackaged and sold as new. Guiyu benefits from its location in Guang Dong province which is the heart of China’s export market to the West. Guiyu has an estimated 300 companies and 3,000 individual workshops engaged in e-waste recycling. Laborers sometimes sit on the pavement in front of the workshops and use hammers and drills to open up the electronic device. The outer metal or plastic casing is removed and then the circuit board itself is removed and cooked to melt the solder so that the chips can be removed with minimal chip damage. This cooking operation releases toxic lead, cadmium and beryllium fumes. To add to the danger, recycling is messy, so the components are washed in a river or left outside in the rain. One of the largest sources of e-waste are cellphones and smartphones. Consumers keep a cellphone an average of about two years. Americans disposed of an estimated 135 million mobile devices in 2010, including pagers and personal digital assistants.