The Dark Side of Silicon Valley

Alongside high-tech businesses and the accompanying high paid salaries, Silicon Valley has one of the highest concentrations of toxic waste sites in the US. How this happened is a story that takes you the history of Silicon Valley and technology itself.
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When you ponder real estate, at least in relation to Silicon Valley, you might be inclined to associate the area with rising real estate costs, income inequality, or the infamous buses that high-tech employees take to their jobs.

The Silicon Valley area

However, the truth about real estate in Silicon Valley is something entirely different, and significantly darker.
The Silicon Valley area (which is just one small part of the state of California) contains 29 sites designated as Superfund sites by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

By comparison, the entire state of Oklahoma has eight Superfund sites (as of 2010). Silicon Valley, alone, is beating an entire state’s record for contaminated sites—and this isn’t one of those numbers games that you want to be winning.

Source: Ontario Images / Wikimedia

So what is a Superfund site? A Superfund site is defined as a contaminated site designated as a candidate for cleanup because it poses a risk to human health and/or the environment (cleanup being paid for by the Superfund created by the U.S. congress)

How did Silicon Valley get this polluted?

Basically, if it’s so bad that the government is offering to clean it up and pay the bill for you, you know it’s a polluted area.

How did Silicon Valley get this polluted? To understand how this all came to pass, you need to take a trip back to the origins of Silicon Valley itself, which have a bigger impact on our everyday lives than you might initially think.

Source: Jaydeep / Pixabay

We live in a very electronic-focused world. You might be reading this article on your smartphone, or computer, connected with LTE or Wifi to a larger database called the Web.

Silicon Valley was the birthplace of many companies and technologies

And, odds are, most of the tech involved in that process wasn’t made in the United States. While a great deal of modern electronics are currently manufactured in overseas manufacturing centres like Taiwan, China, and South Korea, it hasn’t always been the case.

Many 0f the manufacturing processes used in these countries were first developed and used in the Silicon Valley area. It’s not really a stretch to say that Silicon Valley was the birthplace of many of the companies and technologies that form our modern world.


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