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There are also other characteristics of a computer, such as energy consumption levels, that are important
from the viewpoints of both the work (internal) and natural (external) environments. Since all methods of
electricity generation have a negative effect on the environment (e.g. acidic and climate-influencing emis-
sions, radioactive waste), it is vital to save energy. Electronics equipment in offices is often left running con-
tinuously and thereby consumes a lot of energy.
What does labelling involve?
The environmental demands has been developed by Svenska Naturskyddsforeningen (The Swedish Society
for Nature Conservation). These demands impose restrictions on the presence and use of heavy metals, bro-
minated and chlorinated flame retardants, CFCs(freons)and chlorinated solvents, among other things. The
product must be prepared for recycling and the manufacturer is obliged to have an environmental policy
which must be adhered to in each country where the company implements its operational policy.
The energy requirements include a demand that the computer and/or display, after a certain period of inactiv-
ity, shall reduce its power consumption to a lower level in one or more stages. The length of time to reactivate
the computer shall be reasonable for the user.
Below you will find a brief summary of the environmental requirements met by this product. The complete
environmental criteria document may be ordered from:
SE-114 94 Stockholm, Sweden
Fax: +46 8 782 92 07
Email (Internet): email@example.com
Current information regarding TCO'99 approved and labelled products may also be obtained via the Internet,
using the address: http://www.tco-info.com/
Flame retardants are present in printed circuit boards, cables, wires, casings and housings. Their purpose is
to prevent, or at least to delay the spread of fire. Up to 30% of the plastic in a computer casing can consist of
flame retardant substances. Most flame retardants contain bromine or chloride, and those flame retardants
are chemically related to another group of environmental toxins, PCBs. Both the flame retardants containing
bromine or chloride and the PCBs are suspected of giving rise to severe health effects, including reproduc-
tive damage in fish-eating birds and mammals, due to the bio-accumulative* processes. Flame retardants
have been found in human blood and researchers fear that disturbances in foetus development may occur.
The relevant TCO'99 demand requires that plastic components weighing more than 25 grams must not con-
tain flame retardants with organically bound bromine or chlorine. Flame retardants are allowed in the printed
circuit boards since no substitutes are available.
Cadmium is present in rechargeable batteries and in the colour-generating layers of certain computer dis-
plays. Cadmium damages the nervous system and is toxic in high doses. The relevant TCO'99 requirement
states that batteries, the colour-generating layers of display screens and the electrical or electronics compo-
nents must not contain any cadmium.
Mercury is sometimes found in batteries, relays and switches. It damages the nervous system and is toxic in
high doses. The relevant TCO'99 requirement states that batteries may not contain any mercury. It also
demands that mercury is not present in any of the electrical or electronics components associated with the
labelled unit. There is however one exception. Mercury is, for the time being, permitted in the back light sys-
tem of flat panel monitors as today there is no commercially available alternative. TCO aims on removing this
exception when a Mercury free alternative is available.