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A community near Sutter Creek, California that has been designated as an EPA Superfund site as a result of arsenic contamination (photo from Alexander,Hawes,&Audet).

Contamination has also been an issue in areas surrounding fabrication plants. Drinking water was found to be contaminatedwith trichloroethane and Freon, toxins commonly used in the semiconductor industry, in San Jose, California in 1981 [12]. These toxins were later suspected to be the cause of birth defects of many children in the area. The culprits were Fairchild Semiconductor and IBM. The companies’underground storage tanks were found to have leaked tens of thousands of gallons of the toxic solvents into the ground. Thereare a number of semiconductor-related EPA cleanup sites in Silicon Valley, and there have been concerns raised about the cumulativeair and groundwater pollution in Silicon Valley, as well.

Another area of concern is the eventual fate of discarded electronic systems such as computers, pagers, mobilephones, and televisions that contain semiconductor devices. Personal computers in particular are especially problematic becausethey become obsolete fairly rapidly and lose almost all of their market value within five or ten years after their date ofmanufacture. Tens of millions of PC’s are sold in the United States each year, and they pose an environmental risk not only throughtheir sheer bulk in city dumps and landfills but also because their semiconducting devices often contain significant amounts of heavymetals, including lead and other potentially hazardous substances.

Why don’t we hear more about this on the news?

Across the United States, approximately 60% of the manufacturing facilities for semiconductor devices arelocated in six states. These states listed in descending order are California, Texas, Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, andPennsylvania. The industry appears to be concentrated in these particular locations in part because they are near the primaryusers, transportation routes, and experts in the field, but people of all ages in all fifty states are impacted by semiconductortechnology. Consumerism of semiconductor products is only expected to increase in coming years. Apple, for instance, expects to havesold 23.6 million iPods, devices that rely on semiconductor technology, by the year 2006.

If semiconductors are so ubiquitous in our day-to-day lives, why is there so little awareness about theserious environmental and health risks that are involved in their manufacturing process? Part of the problem is that little is knownabout the long-term health or environmental consequences of exposure to the chemicals that are used in the process. Because thesemiconductor industry is still relatively new, not many studies have been conducted on this topic, and existing data is ofteninconclusive. This being said, some scientists predict that the cancer rate in the silicon chip industry will rise significantly inthe future because cancer can take as long as 20-25 years to manifest itself in populations of exposed workers.

Questions & Answers

Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
Damian
yes that's correct
Professor
I think
Professor
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
LITNING Reply
what is a peer
LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
Mahi
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
Rafiq
if virus is killing to make ARTIFICIAL DNA OF GRAPHENE FOR KILLED THE VIRUS .THIS IS OUR ASSUMPTION
Anam
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Anam
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
?
Kyle
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
Adin
why?
Adin
what school?
Kyle
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Joe
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
research.net
kanaga
sciencedirect big data base
Ernesto
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
hi
Loga
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Pdf generation test course. OpenStax CNX. Dec 16, 2009 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col10278/1.5
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