Some PC makers are delaying their promises to reduce or eliminate the use of environmentally problematic materials such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) in their computers.
Most recently, Dell originally said (and still says on its website) that none of its new systems by the end of 2011 will ship with PVC, which is used especially in cabling material, and BFRs, which are used for mainboards and certain plastic components. However, 20 computers still come with those materials. Spokesman Michael Rufer said that the company anticipates that XPS and Latitude systems will be PVC and BFR free in 2012. Heise noted that Inspiron notebooks may continue to include PVC and BFR.
Acer and Lenovo are compromising as well. Acer's business notebooks are already free of PVC and BFR, but the Aspire consumer series still integrates hazardous materials. Lenovo told Heise that only a few notebooks are shipping without PVC and BFRs at this time.
Apple has led the industry and claims to have banned PVC and BFRs from its computers in 2008. HP, Sony and Samsung confirmed that they are not using the materials in their systems anymore.
According to Greenpeace, some BFRs are known to have "toxic properties, are highly resistant to degradation in the environment and are able to bioaccumulate (build up in animals and humans)." PVC creates and releases dioxin during its production and is difficult to recycle. Chemicals that are used to make PVC soft and bendable are suspected to cause cancer and kidney damage.