Toxic chemicals from uncontrolled e-waste recycling: Exposure, body burden, health impact


Uncontrolled electronic-waste (e-waste) recycling processes have induced serious environmental pollution and human health impacts. This paper reviewed studies on the wide range of toxic chemicals through the use of primitive recycling techniques, their transfer to various ecological compartments, and subsequent health impacts. Results indicated that local food items were heavily polluted by the pollutants emitted, notably heavy metals in vegetables, rice, fish and seafood, and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in livestock. Dietary exposure is the most important exposure pathway. The associations between exposure to e-waste and high body burdens of these pollutants were evident. It seems apparent that toxic chemicals emitted from e-waste activities are causing a number of major illnesses related to cardiovascular, digestive and respiratory systems, according to the information provided by a local hospital (Taizhou, an e-waste recycling hot spot in China). More epidemiological data should be made available to the general public. It is envisaged that there are potential dangers of toxic chemicals passing on to the next generation via placental transfer and lactation. There is a need to monitor the development and health impacts of infants and children, born and brought up in the e-waste sites.

Authors: Siyi Lin, Muhammad Ubaid Ali, Chunmiao Zheng, Zongwei Cai, Ming Hung Wong
; Full Source: Journal of hazardous materials 2021 Nov 14;127792. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.127792.