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Air Pollution Hurts Computers, Intel Says

IntelIntel says Asia’s industrial pollution is harming electronics, The Oregonian reports.

In addition to shortening human lifespans, air pollution in China and India makes computer failure “multiple” times more likely, Intell tells the newspaper. Sulfur corrodes the copper circuitry that provides neural networks for PCs and servers and wrecks the motherboards that run whole systems, Anil Kurella, the Hillsboro material scientist who’s leading Intel’s research effort, explains.

As personal electronics become smaller, environmental contaminants will cause increasing damage to them, Intel says. To study the effects of pollution and develop a fix, the company is producing dirty air in a windowless Hillsboro, Ore., lab, The Oregonain reports.

Similarly, IBM and Dell has experienced similar problems with pollution wrecking products, according to the newspaper. Dell has reported electronics in corrosive environments typically failed within two to four months, The Oregonian says. And The Times of India reported that up to 80 percent of electronics had to be replaced at a mall, office complex and housing development built atop an old garbage dump.

In August, Apple began advertising more than 200 positions in China, including an environmental program manager who will be responsible for ensuring the tech company adheres to regional and national regulations.

Apple’s search for an environmental manager follows an investigative report released in July that accuses one of the company’s major suppliers of dozens of environmental, safety and labor violations.

In the US, the Supreme Court last week agreed to review whether the EPA can require greenhouse gas emissions permits for stationary sources such as refineries.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) — one of the industry groups that filed a petition challenging the EPA’s GHG rules — said “manufacturers are pleased” with the court’s decision. NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons called GHG regulations from stationary sources “one of the most costly, complex and harmful regulatory issues facing manufacturers and threatening our global competitiveness.”

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One thought on “Air Pollution Hurts Computers, Intel Says

  1. It would be nice if both China and India would reduce the amount of “allowable sulfur” in their air pollution but something tells me they will instead invest in technologies that protect the copper components within their computers.

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