Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

St Andrews scientists develop new periodic table to show endangered elements used in everyday smartphones and TVs

the new version of the periodic table developed by St Andrews scientists
the new version of the periodic table developed by St Andrews scientists

When thoughts turn to endangered lists, normally the first things which springs to mind are rain forests and pandas.

However chemical elements in mobile phones and televisions have been placed on their own table of threatened resources.

St Andrews scientists, fresh from revealing they may have the world’s oldest periodic table, have developed a unique version which highlights the scarcity of elements used in everyday devices.

Shockingly, around 10 million smartphones are discarded or replaced every month in the European Union alone.

Smartphones are made up of around 30 elements but more than half of those are giving cause for concern in the years to come because of increasing scarcity.

That may be because of limited supplies, their location in conflict areas, or an incapacity to fully recycle them.

The European Chemical Society, representing more than 160,000 chemists, has developed the modern table to highlight both the remaining availability of all 90 elements and their vulnerability.

With finite resources being swallowed up, EuChemS vice-president and Emeritus Professor in Chemistry at St Andrews, Professor David Cole-Hamilton, has questioned the trend for replacing mobile phones every two years, urging users to recycle old phones correctly.

“It is astonishing that everything in the world is made from just 90 building blocks, the 90 naturally occurring chemical elements.

“There is a finite amount of each and we are using some so fast that they will be dissipated around the world in less than 100 years.

“Many of these elements are endangered, so should you really change your phone every two years?” he asked.

The table, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the original, will be launched at the European Parliament on Tuesday by British MEPs Catherine Stihler and Clare Moody.

Mrs Stihler, former Rector of St Andrews, said: “As we mark the 150th anniversary of the periodic table, it’s fascinating to see it updated for the 21st Century.”

However, the Labour politician added: “But it’s also deeply worrying to see how many elements are on the endangered list, including those which make up mobile phones.

“It is a lesson to us all to care for the world around us, as these naturally-occurring elements won’t last forever unless we increase global recycling rates and governments introduce a genuine circular economy.”

EuChemS president Pilar Goya added the celebration of the International Year of the Periodic Table was a great opportunity to communicate the crucial role of chemistry in overcoming the challenges society will be facing in the near future.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]