Chen and his colleagues recently conducted a review to thoroughly identify toxicants found in e-waste and their potential harmful effects to brain development. The study benchmarks current knowledge of e-waste toxicant mixtures and identifies potential preventative measures to reduce human exposures. The team reports its findings and recommended actions online ahead of print on Nov. 15, 2010, in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
Chen says universal restrictions on disposal of e-waste do not exist. In the U.S., there are no legally enforceable federal policies to regulate e-wasteonly a patchwork of legislation in about half of the states. The European Union has federal legislation restricting e-waste disposal and putting much of this responsibility on the device manufacturers.
"In countries where primitive recycling processes exist, human healthespecially children's healthshould drive regulation and management of recycling activities," says Chen. "Restricting the use of toxic chemicals in manufacturing electronic devices would help prevent exposures. More effective environmental regulations in e-waste management are also critically needed."
"Exposure to this type of metal mixture and persistent organic pollutants is truly unprecedented," adds Shuk-mei Ho, PhD, professor and Jacob G. Schmidlapp chair of UC's environmental health department and study collaborator. "We need a better understanding of the human health effects of mixture exposure in order to develop effective measures to protect the people who are most at risk."
|Contact: Amanda Harper|
University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center