Researchers from the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor, Mich., and www.ifixit.com said their study did not examine whether there is a danger of exposure for cellphone users but focused instead on analyzing how chemicals used in cellphones can pollute throughout their life cycle, the Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday.
"We're not making any claim that there's any in-use exposure hazards from these mobile phones," said Ecology Center Research Director Jeff Gearhart, noting the hazardous chemicals are primarily found in the "guts" of the devices.
Instead, he said, the study's intent was to inform consumers that cellphones are chemical-intensive products with the possibility of creating pollution during their manufacture, disposal or recycling.
"These chemicals, which are linked to birth defects, impaired learning and other serious health problems, have been found in soils at levels 10 to 100 times higher than background levels at e-waste recycling sites in China," Gearhart said in a release. "We need better federal regulation of these chemicals, and we need to create incentives for the design of greener consumer electronics."
The phones all "contained at least one of [the] following hazardous chemicals: lead, bromine, chlorine, mercury and cadmium," the release reported.