LCD Television - Environmental Effects

Environmental Effects

See also: Electronic waste

The production of LCD screens uses nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) as an etching fluid during the production of the thin-film components. NF3 is a potent greenhouse gas, and its relatively long half-life may make it a potentially harmful contributor to global warming. A report in Geophysical Research Letters suggested that its effects were theoretically much greater than better-known sources of greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide. As NF3 was not in widespread use at the time, it was not made part of the Kyoto Protocols and has been deemed "the missing greenhouse gas".

Critics of the report point out that it assumes that all of the NF3 produced would be released to the atmosphere. In reality, the vast majority of NF3 is broken down during the cleaning processes; two earlier studies found that only 2 to 3% of the gas escapes destruction after its use. Furthermore, the report failed to compare NF3's effects with what it replaced, perfluorocarbon, another powerful greenhouse gas, of which anywhere from 30 to 70% escapes to the atmosphere in typical use.

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