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The Health Concerns and Impacts of E-Waste!

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Kevin Marshall
Kevin Marshall
November 24, 2014

With the growing number of electronics that are being invented and sold, the amount of E-Waste is growing at an alarming rate. Now you can learn more about what exactly E-Waste is and what it means for our health and the environment.

E-Waste is a general term that can be applied to any discarded or old piece of an electronic appliance. For example, computer monitors, television, laptop computers, desktop computers, old cell phones, keyboards, liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors, printers and copiers can all be labeled as E-Waste. These old pieces of electronics contain persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and heavy metals that are known to be highly toxic to humans and the environment. The problem is when E-Waste is not correctly disposed of, and then it ends up in landfills, instead of going through the proper recycling process. E-Waste has toxic chemicals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, beryllium, chromium, antimony, brominated flame-retardants and more. Exposure to these chemicals over long periods can negatively affect kidneys, bones, the nervous system, and the reproductive and endocrine systems. These chemicals can leak into the ground and drinking water supplies or contaminate the air we breathe.

Exposure to these toxins from E-Waste has various factors. Living near a landfill or recycling company that is not certified will enhance your chance of being exposed. The type of toxins you may be exposed to also has different factors such as the type of E-Waste you are exposed to, the recycling process, the location of the recycling company or the quantity that is being recycled to name a few. More research guided by exposure assessments and the health effects of these toxins in E-Waste is needed for better prevention. Also, better recycling technologies can be used to prevent exposure of toxins; all recycling companies should then appropriate these technologies. A restriction to the number of hazardous chemicals that go into the manufacturing of these electronics will also prevent further problems that may arise. There are a large number of E-Waste health concerns, and it is essential to be aware of them so they can be prevented before anything else.

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