The environmental push of companies toward halogen-free is driven by environmental organizations such a Greenpeace providing examples of poor recycling conditions in 3rd world countries. One such example is a report by Greenpeace in which they assess the e-waste being burned in Ghana.
The report addresses a serious problem of dangerous recycling conditions and child labor that is occuring in Ghana. The issue that I have is they are focusing on the elimination of hazardous materials as the key solution to the problem. Regardless of whether or not the materials being burned are hazardous, having children working around open fire pits will never be safe. In addition, smoke inhilation can be a health problem even without PVC and brominated flame retardants.
The large electronics companies (Philips is being targeted hare by Greenpeace), are not the ones actually shipping the e-waste to Ghana. I would like to see someone trace the e-waste backward and find out the companies that are profiting by shipping the waste here. What about targeting people/companies who are buying the reclaimed metal from these people in Ghana?
I think that if you want to stop countries like Ghana from using bad practices to recycle and reclaim metals, then you need to target those profiting by shipping waste to them in the first place and those saving money by purchasing low cost metals from these scrap yards.