How the materials found in ewaste can affect human health and the environment.

by Ewaste on October 4, 2012

Our electronic waste is filled with a veritable cocktail of toxic materials. Unfortunately when this ewaste is not recycled and simply thrown out with the garbage, ultimately ending up in landfill, it means both human health and the environment are at risk.

A report by Environment Victoria and Total Environment Centre Inc entitled “Tipping Point: Australia’s E-Waste Crisis/2009/Update” states the following affects from materials found in ewaste.

Lead
This toxic material has a well-documented history of negative health affects including brain damage, hence it’s removal from paints and petrol. The introduction of lead to the food chain and atmosphere (through lead combustion) are the primary causes of health problems in humans. Lead in the environment disrupts the natural functions of water and soil systems.

Mercury
Mercury has a toxic affect on both human and environmental health. A small amount now exists in every household light-bulb (the new energy efficient CFLs), if these light-bulbs are crushed as part of the waste transfer process the elemental form of mercury is easily transferred into local environments. Once in landfill and combined with organics, anaerobic breakdown takes place leading to the production of highly toxic methyl-mercury.

Cadmium
Cadmium is cancer causing to humans. Within environmental systems it rapidly degrades soil health causing flow on effects to local ecosystems; it is also released to the atmosphere if burnt.

Brominated Flame Retardants
When ewaste is oxidized during smelting, bromine will be released. The released bromine may then recombine with unoxidized carbon under certain conditions in smelter emissions in the form of Brominated dioxins and furans.

Beryllium
Inhalation of beryllium or beryllium-containing dust, mist or fume, may cause a chronic lung disorder called beryllicosis in susceptible persons, and beryllium is a probable human carcinogen.

Arsenic
Arsenic is classified as a carcinogen.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Hazardous chemical additives (like phthalates) can leach when PVC components of electronic products are sent to landfill.

It’s our responsibility to ensure our future generations have access to a clean environment as we did. Recycling electronic waste is the only way to prevent these toxic materials from affecting human health and the environment in the future.

At 1800Ewaste we are passionate about diverting as much of Australia’s electronic equipment from landfill and export as possible. We believe in prolonging the lifespan of valuable materials by recycling all that we can, currently 95-98%, by weight, of all the materials we collect are recycled. Our service is professional, fast and reliable, we’ll come to you, collect your ewaste and deliver it to the appropriate recycling facility.

If you’re interested in having your ewaste collected and recycled please give us a call today on 1800EWASTE, 1800 392 783

We can also help with your rubbish removal and recycling.

Originally posted 2010-01-06 15:15:21.

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