My friend works at a headphone company at the support service and today she came across someone who claimed that he threw his broken headphone away because he had heard dangerous chemicals could be released when the cable burned through (because they would be exposed to the outside world possibly) which was according to him affirmed at a local waste disposal service. As I am unable to find any confirmation for this claim online, I decided to go ahead and post the question here. I was a bit unsure whether to post on chemistry.SE, biology.SE or engineering.SE, but went ahead with this one in the end, hope it's not off topic, but if it is then my apologies.

  • $\begingroup$ Personally I cannot answer your question, but I think it is on topic here. If you however do not get an answer you can think about flagging and asking for migration. $\endgroup$ – Martin - マーチン Sep 11 '14 at 8:15

Burning or Incineration of Plastic cause carcinogenic chemical products if without suitable catalysts... To pyrolyze plastics such as polyethylene(PE) and polypropylene(PP) of olefin series, the catalysts with high cracking property are needed.

  1. Dioxin- carcinogenic and antibiotic effect to the environment.
  2. Flyash- may produce respiratory illnesses.
  3. Sulfur dioxide
  4. Nitrogen oxide- green plastics.
  5. Toluene- aromatic compound that is related in the burning of cigarettes.
  6. Carbon monoxide- main product of anerobic/ lack of ventilation combustion.
  7. carbonaceous char, oils and gases.
  8. paraffins, olefins, naphthenes and aromatics

Plastic and Diesel http://www.chemtec.org/proddetail.php?pr... http://www.p-fuel.com/index_files/faq.ht...

Thermofuel http://www.cynarplc.com/thermo-fuel.asp

Mael is right that a headphone set is made of some plastics (which are mainly made of basic carbon polymers) and the metallic part for the electronic conduction.so even i agree it can not be dangerous for human health to a great extent.


A headphone set is made of some plastics (which are mainly made of basic carbon polymers) and the metallic part for the electronic conduction. The degradation of the plastic could give some hazardous materials for the environment. We cannot be sure of which ones just because each plastic is different. But I do not think it can be dangerous for human health.


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