Dangers to e waste you might never knew about
Much of the activities of we humans today revolve around things that run on electricity. Equipment that runs on electricity and electric circuitry are known as electrical and electronic equipment (EEE). With rapid improvements in the way these kinds of products are produced, we now have a lot of these electronic wastes (e-waste) lying all around us. Some of this equipment includes computers, Televisions, fax machines, printers, and other electronic products. There are many precious elements that can be found in many of the e-waste that we dispose of every day, but apart from the benefits that can be derived from them, it is good that you know the dangers that they pose to the environment too.
In many e-wastes, harmful elements and materials like lead, cadmium, chromium, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), brominated flame, and more can be found in them. Also, in many industrially developing countries, the recycling processes are primitive that the workers handling them are liable to be exposed to harmful substances, and even the people living around these recycling plants can inhale some of the harmful fumes.
When e-wastes are not properly disposed and sent in for proper recycling, it can lead to the accumulation of toxic chemicals in the soil, water, and food. When e-wastes are processed but are not processed properly, they can lead to a rise in the number of harmful bi-products that can potentially affect the health of the people around where they are processed. Dismantling e-wastes can also lead to injuries when they are nor properly handled.
Exposure to hazardous chemicals
Sometimes, when e-wastes are processed, the chemicals that are used are sometimes stronger than those chemicals that are found in the electronics and electrical appliances that are being processed. In countries where the rules regarding the processing of these e-wastes are somewhat non-formal or lenient, the workers are very liable to workplace hazards.
Also, lots of children get exposed to e-waste derived chemicals through their daily activities at home because many of the recycling processes are usually carried out in the homes of many families in developing countries. Children are especially at risk because they are still growing, and little changes in things like the air, water or food that they take in can result in them becoming seriously ill. They are prone to experiencing the side effects of the chemicals released from e-waste because their bodies’ systems like the central nervous system, reproductive, and digestive system are still developing. Any exposure to any of the chemicals released during the processing of e-waste, handling of the materials used to make electronic products, or just being in areas where e-wastes are processed can lead to developmental problems and could cause irreparable damages to the kids that are exposed.
This is why organizations like WHO (World Health Organization) are working to identify the main sources of e-wastes and the potential health risks of e-waste exposures so that methods that will ensure successful intervention and prevention can be put in place. An initiative like the E-Waste and Child Health Initiative was started by the WHO to protect children and their families from the life-threatening effects of e-wastes.
Children’s Environmental Health (2019). Retrieved from World Health Organization website: https://www.who.int/ceh/risks/ewaste/en/
E-waste: The hidden dangers of technology (2019). Retrieved from Purdue Global University website: https://www.purdueglobal.edu/blog/information-technology/ewaste-hidden-dangers/