Aging computers are fast becoming one of the nation’s thorniest waste management problems, but U.S high-tech companies are lagging behind on recycling efforts. A report issued Monday by the Computer Take Back Coalition gave high environmental marks to Japanese companies such as Canon, Sony, Fujitsu, and Toshiba for recycling old machines, limiting use of hazardous materials in computer construction, and protecting workers from toxics. U.S. companies, however, fared poorly, with only IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Apple scoring in the top 10, while Dell, Gateway, and others received low marks. Computer monitors contain about four pounds of lead each, while other components contain mercury, cadmium, and other harmful substances. Given that 24 million computers became obsolete in 1999 alone, the e-toxics add up fast.