So, what happens if I eat my computer? I’m looking for a companion.

Microchips and dip are two things that come to mind while thinking about microchips.

Michel Lotito died of natural causes at the age of 57, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. But not before 18 bicycles, 15 shopping carts, seven TV sets, six chandeliers, two mattresses, a pair of skis, a low-calorie Cessna light aircraft, and a computer were eaten by this competitive eater.

Lotito’s motivation for doing this is unknown, as is whether he was aware of the several ways he was endangering his health.

First and foremost: No nutritionist, doctor, or even the most trendy dieter would endorse or advocate eating a computer. But it raises an absurd, but maybe equally interesting, question: Is eating one really so risky? The human body contains several of the same elements found in electrical equipment, such as magnesium, iron, and sodium. Is it possible to consume in the case of a dare?

Unfortunately, the advantages of swallowing a computer do not exceed the hazards, which include death in many cases. The choking hazard is the first possible danger. Even the most competitive eaters have had difficulty swallowing considerably softer meals. According to Metro News, two Nathan’s contestants died last year after choking on a doughnut and a pancake, respectively. Silicon and fibreglass are significantly more difficult to swallow. Lotito, too, chopped his metallic meals into one- to two-centimeter-long pieces. Furthermore, anything long or pointy has the potential to scrape or tear the oesophagus, the lengthy tube that links the mouth and stomach.

Heavy metal poisoning would be your next challenge if you managed to crush the computer and ingest it without difficulty (like Lotito did). Circuit boards can contain trace quantities of arsenic – not enough to kill you right away, but enough to kill you over time if you ate many computers. Aluminum, a prevalent component in computer and hard drive casings, has no biological role in the human body and appears to clog up regular bodily functions. According to certain case reports, patients with advanced liver illness who are no longer able to drain aluminium out of their systems experience nerve damage, which is thought to be caused by the metal. According to the Long Island Manufacturing Center, a recycling and e-waste drop-off location, older computer displays contain up to eight pounds of lead, as well as mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and beryllium.

Most people are aware that lead is bad for you—nausea, vomiting, and stomach discomfort are just a few of the acute adverse symptoms. If the victim’s lead poisoning is not treated, he or she will eventually die, usually from renal failure. A toddler died in 2006 after swallowing a tiny lead charm, demonstrating that eating a whole computer’s worth of the metal is a realistic method of consuming enough to kill. So, how did Lotito manage to stay alive? The lead charm became trapped in the child’s stomach, where acids gradually broke it down. According to Helen Binns, a professor of paediatrics and preventative medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, if it hadn’t, the piece of metal would have gone through the digestive system quicker and caused less damage.

Metal indigestion isn’t the only type of hazardous indigestion you may have. Unless you have a new Mac, the optical drive is covered with a photoresist application, which is a light-sensitive material that allows you to read CDs. This doesn’t appear to be very beneficial for lab animals, according to studies, albeit it wasn’t deadly. It produced inflammation around the eyes and skin as well as weight gain in mice and rabbits when scientists administered it to them.

Flame retardants, which protect your gadgets from catching fire, are neither tasty nor healthful. If burnt or crushed as garbage, these chemicals surround the computer’s copper cables and drift into the sky. According to the National Institute of Health, in addition to affecting fertility, some evidence shows that flame retardant chemicals may also disturb human hormone systems, and some studies have found a link between specific kinds of flame retardant and cancer.

Eating computers is still dangerous, although it has grown less so over time. Cadmium and lead were prohibited from computers by the European Union in 2006, and newer circuit boards are less likely to contain arsenic. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers developed environmental criteria for businesses and universities in 2009, and the Green Electronics Council, which is even newer, evaluates firms based on how recyclable they are. Old computers, on the other hand, continue to show up at recycling facilities. “We get 40 or 50 year old TVs,” says Jason Linnell, executive director of the National Center of Electronics Recycling. “They might have lead, mercury, or cadmium. These are the kinds of items you don’t want to end up in the landfill.”

Humans may devour computers on purpose in the future. Scientists are currently working on nanocomputers that patients will be able to take as pills. These small robots will be able to monitor your vital signs from the inside, as well as fill in one of your hundred difficult-to-remember passwords in the future. For people like astronauts, firefighters, and football players, prototypes already exist to ensure that they do not overheat. Scientists are striving to build more biodegradable computers, such as this computer chip constructed of wood-based nanocellulose.

Because most of us don’t have Lotito’s steel-crushing stomach, recycling is a far more attractive (and safer) alternative. “Things have certainly improved,” Linnell adds. “There are a lot more competent recyclers here.” In certain areas, throwing obsolete laptops in with regular garbage might result in a fine. Instead, many manufacturers accept obsolete goods for recycling, and many localities have e-waste drop-off facilities. It’s not necessary to consume your computer.

Are you frequently bombarded with bizarre, mind-boggling questions? If you’ve ever wondered what the cosmos is composed of, what happens if you fall into a black hole, or why some people can’t touch their toes, you should listen to and subscribe to Ask Us Anything, a brand new podcast from the editors of Popular Science. Every Tuesday and Thursday, Ask Us Anything is released on Apple, Anchor, Spotify, and wherever else you listen to podcasts. Each episode delves into a particular topic that we know you’ll be interested in hearing about.

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