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Are Cadmium-Telluride Photovoltaic’s (PV) Environmentally Sound?
Bill Kennedy (Jan, 2010)

We’ve all heard of NiCd (NiCad) batteries. We know from what we have heard that NiCd batteries contain cadmium (Cd). Through this we have learned cadmium is a toxic, carcinogenic, heavy metal and therefore requires special care during use and mandates proper battery disposal via recycling. We, the public, somewhat understand that in the US part of the price of a NiCd battery is a fee for its proper disposal at the end of its service lifetime. This we have been told is important as cadmium is a heavy metal that should be avoided due to its “deadly toxicity” to all forms of life, including our own. Some of us are also aware of RoHS (the European Union’s “Restriction of Hazardous Substance Directive”) wherein cadmium is banned for use in many countries and organizations for use in all types of electrical and electronic equipment. Here again we understand this ban as cadmium, being a heavy metal, can cause substantial pollution when dumped in landfills and/or incinerated. All in all, we the public have some understanding of the fact that cadmium pollution is bad, its proliferation is bad and that no matter how much we as individuals support recycling programs, that they are in reality poor, cost money and in are in a education and catch-up mode trying to entice more cooperation. All this, yet we continue to proliferate Cadmium into new applications, increasing its use and level of threat...

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