The overwhelming majority of the world's hazardous waste is generated by industrialized market economies. Exporting this waste to less developed countries has historically been one way in which the industrialized world has avoided having to deal with the problem of expensive disposal and close public scrutiny at home...
Like most waste trade, E-waste exports to developing countries are motivated entirely by brute global economics. Market forces, if left unregulated, dictate that toxic waste will always run "downhill" on an economic path of least resistance. If left unchecked, the toxic effluent of the affluent will flood towards the world's poorest countries where labor is cheap, and occupational and environmental protections are inadequate. A free trade in hazardous wastes leaves the poorer peoples of the world with an untenable choice between poverty and poison--a choice that nobody should have to make.

-"Exporting Harm", Basel Action Network, Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, 2/25/2002