The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered Metro Metals Corp. and Avista Recycling, Inc. to pay a 31,600 USD penalty for their attempt to illegally export computer waste to Vietnam.

EPA said the two companies violated federal hazardous waste laws and requested them to properly dispose of computer waste they planned to illegally export from Minnesota to Vietnam through the Port of Seattle .

An EPA press release said some televisions and computer monitors contain cathode ray tubes. Colour computer CRT monitors contain an average of four pounds of lead. CRTs may also contain mercury, cadmium and arsenic, which are all very toxic chemicals.

Metro Metals Corp., a Toronto , Canada , based company, and Avista Recycling, Inc., a recycling company operating in Hopkins , Minnesota , arranged for the export of a shipment of 913 discarded computer monitors to Vietnam on December 6, 2010.

US Customs and Border Protection agents intercepted the shipment, which had been incorrectly identified in shipping paperwork as “scrap plastic,” at the Port of Seattle for inspection before it could leave the US .

The EPA order will automatically become final unless either of the parties request a hearing on the matter within 30 days since the agency issued the decision on February 15./.