Dell toughens e-waste export policies

Move aimed at protecting developing countries

SEATTLE -- PC maker Dell Inc. is formally banning the export of broken computers, monitors and parts to developing countries.

Dell says its revised policy defines e-waste more strictly than the Basel Convention, an international treaty that governs e-waste handling.

The Round Rock, Texas-based company says it's been holding recycling partners to these high standards for years. By making the policy public, Dell raises the bar for competitors.

Shipping such e-waste overseas isn't illegal in the United States.

Environmental groups say half or more of recycled electronics go to scrapyards in China, Ghana and other developing countries. There, the groups say they are smashed, burned or otherwise dismantled by hand, exposing workers to mercury, lead and other toxic materials.