Co-author of the study Dr Fangxing Yang, of Zhejiang University, said, "Both inflammatory response and oxidative stress may lead to DNA damage, which could induce oncogenesis, or even cancer. Of course, inflammatory response and oxidative stress are also associated with other diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases."
In this study, the researchers took samples of the air from Taizhou of Zhejiang province a dismantling complex that involves more than 60,000 people and dismantles more than two million tons of e-waste to recycle metals each year.
To obtain the samples, the researchers used two sampling sites that were located downwind of a dismantling industrial park in Taizhou, set up by the local government in 2004.
It is well known that inflammatory response and oxidative stress can lead to DNA damage and therefore activate the p53 gene to counteract this damage. The study did not find any significant correlation between IL-8 and ROS and p53 expression; however the researchers suggest that this may be due to the various other endpoints, not examined in this study, which can damage DNA.
A further study will attempt to characterise the components present in the polluted air and identify the key contributors to these adverse effects.
Dr Yang continued, "From these results it is clear that the 'open' dismantlement of e-waste must be forbidden with more primitive techniques improved. As the results show potential adverse effects on human health, workers at these sites must also be given proper protection.
"Furthermore, one must consider the initial manufacturing process of electrical goods and look to utilise more environmentally and human friendly materials in their production."
|Contact: Michael Bishop|
Institute of Physics