As you probably know, the world is learning to harness the power of renewable energy to combat global warning. The solar industry is rapidly leading our clean energy revolution.
But consider this: You've seen solar panels installed on rooftops helping to save money on power bills and keep the environment safe. So if I told you solar panels are bad for your health would you believe me?
Quite simply, you probably haven’t heard the hushed up truth about the health hazards associated with solar panels. Before getting into the details you should know that installing solar panels on your roof top probably won’t kill you.
After all, it’s the dangerous chemicals and toxic materials used to manufacture solar panels and their disposal when being replaced, which are the major health concerns.
The Risks to Workers Manufacturing Solar Panels:
Fact is fifty different cancer-causing chemicals are used to manufacture solar panels. Examples of these chemicals include cadmium and arsenic. Without doubt, workers in the solar industry making and disposing solar panels are at highest risk for health issues.
The Risks You Face When Solar Panels Reach the End of Their Life cycle:
Here’s the thing — solar panels will reach the end of their lifecycle (after 15 to 25 years) and pile up in your local garbage dump, along with toxins leaking from them. How safe will your health be then?
Not enough research is available yet to know for sure but it’s a fact that the air you breathe, water you drink, the preservatives and pesticides in the food you eat — just to name a few — are already loaded with toxins. Even your body’s natural metabolism produces toxins.
Toxins are making you sick. Want proof?
Even the World Health Organization reported in June 2006 that almost one quarter of all diseases is a direct result of exposure to toxins. Evidence is mounting daily that your health is being compromised by the toxins, pollution and chemicals growing in the environment around you. So you probably don’t want the solar industry to become another source of toxins polluting the planet and increasing your body’s toxic burden, do you?
What are the Solar Panel Industry and Government doing about it.? :
Obviously, solar panels are not the only culprit poisoning your world with toxins but it’s one of the many you should be aware of. Awareness is the first small step that will help you and I demand the solar industry and governments be held accountable.
So, how can the solar industry be more responsible?
For starters, they should responsibly dispose of toxic waste resulting from the manufacturing process and end of solar panel life disposal.
Secondly, safely handle toxic materials while manufacturing solar panels through standard guidelines and procedures.
After all, what good is using nitrogen tri fluoride (NF3) to manufacture thin cell photo voltaic (a type of solar panel) if there’s a chance it could escape into the atmosphere undermining the benefits solar energy is supposed to offer in the fight against global warming?
By the way research results from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography indicate NF3 gas has 17,000 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide and is rapidly increasing in the atmosphere (historically from the electronics industry but the young growing solar industry may be the next tyrant involved).
Before getting too far off topic let me suggest another way the solar industry can be responsible. My final suggestion is to conduct research into safer materials that could be used in manufacturing. To be fair, some manufacturers have acknowledged the health and environmental issues associated with solar panels and are taking steps to become more responsible.
Of course, these are not the only answers. More research and discussion are needed to provide better solutions. Hopefully, this will surface as solar panel health and environment issues come into public consciousness.
As you can see, modern day solar panels have heath issues associated with them. In an ideal world, the clean energy produced by solar panels would come from solar panels that are “cleanly manufactured,” contain “clean materials,” and are “cleanly disposed” of at the end of their life cycle. Obviously, there is a lot of room for improvement which you can view as a good thing. After all, there’s no question that we desperately need to change to clean renewable power for the world’s source of energy both for the world you live in and your health.
Side note 1: The idea for this article came to me after reading about a report released mid January 2009 by the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition called “Toward a Just and Sustainable Solar Energy Industry”
Side note 2: You’ll be glad to know that your body has the natural ability to eliminate toxins that would make you sick if they accumulated in your body.
Thanks for reading and I hope you will leave your comments below.
Last update on May 25, 6:52 pm by M.Bilal Ashraf.
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