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EPA Teams Up with Puerto Rico Businesses to Reduce Lead Waste

Release Date: 02/09/2006
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(#06015) NEW YORK -- Four high-tech companies in Puerto Rico have committed to eliminating approximately 30,000 pounds of lead from their operations combined, a move that has earned them entry into the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Partnership for Environmental Priorities (NPEP). These businesses; Caribe General Electric PR Investment Inc., Smart Modular Technologies, Solectron, and PR Sun Microsystems; are all taking steps to drastically reduce or eliminate use of lead in their processes.

"Doing right for the environment and doing right for the economy go hand in hand," said Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. "These companies know that hazardous waste is expensive. Less waste means a cleaner environment and a healthier bottom line."

Caribe General Electric PR Investment Inc. and PR Sun Microsystems will replace lead solder with a non-lead alternative. Smart Modular Technologies will be eliminating the use of lead solder paste. Solectron will be eliminating the use of leaded solder paste, wire, bars, and tooling with lead finishes. Both Smart Modular Technologies and Solectron will request lead free components from their vendors.

NPEP encourages public and private organizations to form voluntary partnerships with EPA and reduce the use or release of any of 31 priority chemicals including lead, dioxin, PCBs, and mercury. Programs that target overall waste reduction are vital to achieving sustainability. NPEP places the greatest emphasis on the reduction of chemicals in wastes (as well as products) that, due to their chemical properties, can be harmful to human health and the environment over long periods of time. Existing releases of these chemicals often linger in some form for decades, repeatedly cycling among land, water, and air. Continued use of these chemicals increases these unwelcome global reservoirs. Reducing waste generation through waste minimization has helped some companies reduce or eliminate hazardous waste from their operations. Since 2001, priority chemical use decreased in waste by nearly six percent, despite new EPA requirements which increased reported chemical amounts. In addition, about half of the 23 priority chemicals showed decreases in use.

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