Another click-bait title? Seriously? (Is it still click-bait when nobody reads your blog, or does that simply make it harder to swallow that you’re doing it for the lols?)
Anyway — so recently I was looking into getting a new compact PC to play Planet Zoo on the TV in the dining room. While researching such devices, I came across this rather severe little asterisk footnote at the end of the specifications block:
This would appear to suggest that not only does the industrial chemical Antimony trioxide give you cancer (the State of California knows this), but it is also somehow packaged with the entirely package-less Windows 10 software. In other words, Windows 10 gives you cancer! …says the State of California, anyway. Shots fired.
There’s clearly something not right here, so let’s dig. First, what is Antimony oxide/trioxide? Antimony (III) oxide, also known as Antimony trioxide, is an inorganic compound typically used commercially for its fire retardant properties and as an opacifying agent in glass, enamel and ceramic applications. It’s often used in thermal insulation of electrical components.
There’s definitely literature on its carcinogenic potential too, although much of it goes back quite a way (mostly the 1950s and 1960s as far as anything directly relating to humans). Also, the studies relating to effects on humans seemed to be a mixed bag; with some citing a correlation, others claiming no effect. Often the effect was correlated with a whole host of other industrial contaminants: workers that may well have been exposed to higher than usual levels of Antimony, but also substances like asbestos.
More recent, conclusive proof of its deadliness comes from trials in the 1980s, in which certain levels of Antimony oxide being either inhaled or ingested caused abnormal levels of tumours and premature death in rats. So in other words, I’m fine being around it, so long as I don’t inhale or ingest it in large quantities. Kind of like basalt. Or caffeine.
And what do the State of California know that we don’t, that makes them so certain? WE MAY NEVER KNOW.
But wait, how do I avoid inhaling Windows 10? Of course, I’m being obtuse. This is basically down to poor text formatting; the asterisk actually pertains to just the first “Additional taxes and fees may apply” part–although, I think the fault still lies with the layout of information here. The latter part refers to the entire device, so presumably the chemical is used in making the hardware or casing.
So remember, don’t eat old PCs. Even if you can’t think of anything better to do with them.