Electronic Waste Recycling: Occupational Exposures and Work-Related Health Effects
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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Electronic waste (e-waste) is a global public health challenge. E-waste recycling workers may be exposed to chemical, physical, ergonomic, and psychosocial hazards. This review provides an overview of recent research on occupational exposures in e-waste recycling and work-related health effects that can impact e-waste workers. RECENT FINDINGS: E-waste workers are exposed to a variety of chemicals including metals, particulates, persistent organic compounds, and flame retardants. Exposure varies according to job task with higher exposures observed for dismantling and burning e-waste. Exposure to job stress and physical hazards (e.g., noise) also occurs. Many studies have measured workers' exposure in the e-waste recycling industry; fewer have investigated health effects. Biological measures were reported more often than external exposure measures. In order to protect workers, efforts are required to better understand exposures and their health effects. Removing hazardous materials from electronic equipment and reducing e-waste production would benefit workers, communities, and the environment.
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