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article imageLCD Panels Release Chemical That Impacts The Climate 17,000 More Than CO2

By KJ Mullins     Jul 10, 2008 in Environment
Your LCD monitor that you may be using to surf the web or chat with your friends on a cell phone isn't as environmentally friendly as once believed. LCD panels contain nitrogen trifloride a chemical that has a greater impact than carbon dioxide.
17,000 times greater an impact to be precise. It's not being monitored by the Kyoto Protocol though because at the time it was drafted LCDs were not produced in quantities that could have as strong an impact. That was then.
Nitrogen trifluoride emissions stay in the atmosphere for 550 years. Those emissions are strong, so strong that there is no force in nature that is able to remove it. This year the impact of nitrogen trifluoride emissions will be on par to Austria's CO2 output. That figure is expected to double in just one year. With China, Korea and the United States all opening NF3 manufacturing facilities it could in the future be a greater threat to the environment that CO2. Add in the switch to digital television which increases LCD consumption and the world could see those figures sky rocket quickly. As television companies ease out of their current production quality older television sets will begin to get disposed of including the earliest LCD models.
LCD monitors have the reputation of being environmentally friendly. Compared to CRT models they use half to two-thirds less energy. There is also less heat output helping to lower air conditioning costs. The manufacturers have had some controversies though.
LCD technology uses arsenic and mercury which has raised concerns of health and environmental issues. The technology though is beginning to address those issues. Now the news that NF3 is a threat could make for newer changes if the public starts to protest. We'll have to wait and see how the manufacturers deal with this latest issue.
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