Colin Page works with US-based Secure Components which is the world's first AS6081 certified company and promotes awareness regarding the severity of counterfeit electronic components and the need for authenticity in testing when procuring them.
In his blog post (an extract is posted below), Page focuses on the negative economic and environmental effects of improperly handlimg electronic waste.
The current public attitude towards counterfeit electronics is similar to the attitude displayed in the 1960s towards drunk driving: While driving drunk is now rightly viewed as extremely dangerous and irresponsible, only a few decades ago it was viewed by many as relatively harmless.
This is evidenced by the evolution of legal penalties regarding drunk driving: Decades ago, penalties for drunk driving would include a fine of similar magnitude to a speeding ticket. Whereas nowadays, a DUI can result in thousands of dollars in fines as well as, in some states, mandatory minimum prison sentences.
In the same fashion, the counterfeiting of electronics (as well as the exporting of e-waste, which has been demonstrated to directly enable this type of counterfeiting) is currently seen as only a minor crime, even though it has been extensively proven to cause financial loss, injury, and death.
In addition to these direct consequences of improper e-waste disposal, there also exists a high probability that items from e-waste shipments are used in counterfeit electronic components, which are in turn sold for use in consumer goods, aerospace systems, military applications, and sometimes in life-critical systems.
The EPA estimates that, in the US, “as little as 11 to 14%” of e-waste is sent to recyclers and 70 to 80% of that portion that is sent to recycling companies is shipped overseas to less developed nations, which often use extremely basic (and often dangerous) methods of component disassembly and material extraction.
In addition to heavy environmental and health impacts, the improper disposal of e-waste has negative economic effects. It is estimated that 70 to 80% of the e-waste that is sent to U.S. recyclers is exported to developing nations such as China and India to be disposed.