Every day, more and more bad news hits the media about global warming, climate change and pollution. Every day new products are developed and every day more chemicals are added to the list of pollutants to our atmosphere and water.

One of the latest chemicals to draw the attention of the scientists is nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), a chemical is used in the production liquid crystal displays (LCD), also called flat-panel displays, along with thin-film solar cells and microcircuits. The most popular use of LCD displays is for televisions and computer monitors.

NASA is reporting that the level of this gas in our atmosphere is much greater than previously thought. As the manufacture and disposal of these LCD screens increase, so will the emissions of nitrogen trifluoride into our atmosphere.

According to reports, nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), remains in the atmosphere for up to 740 years and is only second to Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6) in its global warming potential. This chemical has a greater greenhouse impact than even that of the world’s largest coal-fired plants. Its “globe-warming effect reportedly could be 17,000 times more potent than a similar mass of carbon dioxide”. [NASA]

Nitrogen trifluoride is missing from the list of greenhouse gasses addressed in the Koyoto Protocol and little to nothing has been heard about this chemical. Why is this extremely toxic chemical called the “missing greenhouse gas” from the Koyoto Protocol and what is the Koyoto Protocol?

In 1992, a United Nations Conference on Climate Change formulated the Kyoto Protocol. This protocol set the standards for reduction of six greenhouse gasses (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride (hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons)that are known to interfere with the climate system.

In 1992, few liquid crystal display LCD’s were being manufactured, so the gas was not considered a major problem at the time, but that is rapidly changing.

In 2008 alone, the production of this chemical would release the equivalent of the global-warming emissions from a country the size of Austria and production could double in 2009.

In February of 2009, the television industry in the United States is making a full transition to digital technology. With that will be an increase in the demand for LCD flat screen televisions.

Manufacturers are promoting LCD televisions as “eco-friendly” as a benefit to switching from analog television to digital television. In comparison, they do use less electricity than plasma TV’s, older rear projection, and analog TV”s.

What isn’t taken into consideration is that many Americans, keeping true to their “bigger is better” mentality, will purchase larger replacement televisions which will use even more electricity than their old televisions.

The discarding of millions of the old analog televisions will be another ecological nightmare. Televisions, along with all electronics, contain toxic chemicals. Improper recycling will only add to the ecological harm our garbage is causing to the planet.

To truly go green when you purchase a new television,

• Don’t opt for the largest screen you can buy.
• Recycle your old television through a reputable recycler.
• Turn your television off when it is not being watched.
• Spend less time in front of the television.
• Spend more time outdoors where the air is probably cleaner.

About the Author:

Beverly Saltonstall is an environmental writer. Visit http://pollutionwebsite.com for news, podcasts, articles and guides covering many aspects of pollution. To understand pollution, read “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Pollution, But Never Dared to Ask”. (available on website)