E-waste dismantling-related occupational and routine exposure to melamine and its derivatives: Estimating exposure via dust ingestion and hand-to-mouth contact


Melamine (MEL) and its derivatives are increasingly applied as nitrogenous flame retardants in consumer products. Nevertheless, limited information is available on their environmental occurrence and subsequent human exposure via multiple exposure pathways. In this study, we analysed MEL and its derivatives in dust (indication of the dust ingestion route) and hand wipe samples (indication of the hand-to-mouth route) collected in various microenvironments. The levels of ∑MELs in both dust (median: 24,100 ng/g) and participant hand samples (803 ng/m2) collected in e-waste dismantling workshops were significantly higher than those in samples collected in homes (15,600 ng/g and 196 ng/m2, respectively), dormitories (13,100 ng/g and 227 ng/m2, respectively) and hotel rooms (11,800 ng/g and 154 ng/m2, respectively). Generally, MEL dominated in dust samples collected in e-waste dismantling workshops, whereas cyanuric acid dominated in hand wipe samples. This may occur partly because the latter is an ingredient in disinfection products, which are more frequently employed in daily lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. Exposure assessment suggests that dust ingestion is an important exposure pathway among dismantling workers and the general population, whereas hand-to-mouth contact could not be overlooked in certain populations, such as children and dismantling workers not wear gloves at work.

Authors: Leicheng Zhao, Yuan Lu, Hongkai Zhu, Zhipeng Cheng, Yu Wang, Hao Chen, Yiming Yao, Jingran Zhang, Xiaoxiao Li, Zhaoyang Sun, Chong Zhang, Hongwen Sun
; Full Source: Environment international 2022 May 14;165:107299. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2022.107299.