MEW writes "According to this article, 'the semiconductor industry began using red phosphorus as a flame retardant instead of the Br-based compound it had used for years,' due to environmental concerns. By July 2002, 1000 tons of the stuff was used for about a billion chips, when they stopped due to high component failures. In particular Sumitomo Bakelite caused rampant failures in Fujitsu disk drives. There's still a lot of Sumitomo Bakelite out there, and we may see the worst of it soon, as components start to fail prematurely. This was posted by Spaceman on Macintouch who says that the bad material accounts for 'half the world's supply of 'IC Plastics'' and can result in 'sudden or premature end of life.'"
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