Jun 1 - Improper Recycling of E-waste is a Health Threat

Share Chinese researchers took a look at the health impacts of e-waste recycling in China, and found that the recycling process poses a health threat to the workers.

20 million tons of e-waste is produced annually, with much of it being exported to China. The researchers took samples of the air from Taizhou in Zhejiang province where more than 60,000 people are involved in dismantling more than 2 million tons of e-waste to recycle metals each year.

The study, published in the Journal Environmental Research Letters, found that the e-waste recycling process releases a number of pollutants, such as heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants, which are inhaled and can accumulate in the body. Testing revealed increased inflammatory response and oxidative stress in lung cells, which could lead to cancer or cardiovascular diseases.

According to the co-author of the study, Dr. Fangxing Yang of Zheijiang University,

"From these results it is clear that the 'open' dismantlement of e-waste must be forbidden with more primitive techniques improved. As the results show potential adverse effects on human health, workers at these sites must also be given proper protection."

CAW-sponsored bill AB 960 (Lowenthal), a bill that will reduce the export of e-waste overseas, will be heard today on the Assembly Floor. AB 960 would incentivize existing California-based recyclers to recover rare metals, reduce pollution, and increase jobs and economic opportunity in California.