Health Impact of E-Waste

Globally, electrical and electronic waste is on the rise due to the increased technology. The population has high usage of computers, mobile phones, fridges, televisions, etc. and at their end of useful life, they are discarded. The items resold, recycled, salvaged or disposed of when they become unwanted to the consumers. However, during their disposal with various means, the waste may have health effects on the people. When they are thrown in landfills, the waste may cause injury to the people in case of any accident. Primitive Recycling of the wastes creates many dangers to the human life as it may expose people to hazardous substances. E-waste contains valuable elements copper and gold which is recycled in most developed countries bring more income to the informal sector.


The health impacts of E-wastes are due to people contact with harmful materials such as lead found in electric batteries and in PVC products as a stabilizer which cause damage to various systems in the human body like reproductive, blood and nervous. Mercury found in the circuit boards of phones and fluorescent tubes causes’ brain and kidney damage in the people. Arsenic found in the microchips of electric devices can cause death when high levels are exposed to people. However, low concentrations affect the skin, liver respiratory and nervous systems. Cadmium found mostly in Nickel-cadmium batteries causes deficits in learning, cognition, neuromotor skills and learning in the children. Chlorine found in the plastic components that make phones may lead to tissue damage and destruction of cell structure in the people. Bromine waste found in fire retardant chemicals has been linked to the cognitive and developmental deficits among the people hence causing disruption of thyroid hormone balance, cancer and also brain damage (Robinson, 2009, pp.183-191).

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