Who isn’t attracted to a new electronic gadget? If we could afford, every time we would purchase a new gadget that would be launched in the market. But do you have an idea about how much harm environment is facing by these electronic items?
Have you ever thought about what happens to the electronic equipment that you dump away? Does it affect human health?
The electronic equipment that becomes useless for you and when you throw it away, it proceeds towards the e-waste recycling area but life does not become easy there. People working in and around the e-waste recycling area are under high risk of environmental exposure. We always thought recycling is a good thing but the problem occurs when it is not environment friendly and not good for human health.
A research was conducted about human exposure levels of PAEs (Phthalic Acid Ester, which are refractory organic compounds frequently added to plastics to enhance the flexibility of the materials) in an e-waste recycling area Ziya Circular Economy Park (ZCEP) in Tianjin, China. Three different sites were focused which were close to the recycling area:
1. Employees in ZCEP
2. Residents in Ziya town
3. The downtown of Jinghai town
157 urine samples were collected from three sites with different distances from the core dismantling site and urinary phthalate metabolites (mPAEs) concentrations were measured and were compared among these three sites. Urinary median ΣmPAEs concentrations of the employees in ZCEP were significantly higher than those of residents in Ziya town and the downtown of the Jinghai district. It was also found out that the concentration of urinary ΣmPAEs in the employees from family workshops was significantly higher than that in employees of plants with centralized management. The mPAEs level was greater in the subgroup of people who aged more than 50.
The study concludes that e-waste recycling is a double-edged sword that could promote economic and sustainable development associated with risks in human health and environmental quality. A comprehensive regulation for e-waste recycling industries should be implemented from source to end-user based on scientific data rather than an empirical method.
There has been a spike in the usage of electronic items because it helps us to work efficiently and especially in this pandemic, it has made our life easier. That isn’t a problem! The problem emerges on how fast we throw away these items; it may be because it stopped working or because we just want an up to date model or the newest innovation of technology. Throwing them away without regard to what happens to their toxic components is currently impacting the health of our neighbors, and if we don’t change course soon, this careless disregard for harmful consequences will impact the health of our children and grandchildren as well. Let me tell you one shocking fact, the world has produced at least 50 million tons of e-waste in 2018 alone. Can you imagine how our future will look? We need to work towards a better and healthy future; our future generation doesn’t deserve polluted lifestyle.