The Harm of Improper Disposal of E-waste
What is e-waste? Generally speaking, the abandoned electronic products all belong to e-waste. For example, television, computer, printer, phone, refrigerator, etc.
In this modern society, E-waste generated in large amount everyday, which can cause serious harm to human health if it is not disposed or recycled properly. The speed of e-waste generating is almost 3 times of general household waste generating, and the amount is increasing every year in a drastic manner due to the growing demand of electronic products in modern life. If you are not working in a e-waste recycling facility, you may not know where the e-waste goes to.
Burning of e-waste releases poisonous gases which contaminates the air. If the harmful gases are inhaled by human beings, it will affect the epithelial cells of human lungs, and the human lungs will then develop to cancer or some respiratory diseases. Hazardous chemicals like chlorinated dioxins, furan, and PCB can lead to cancer to humans. The release of Freon from abandoned air conditioner and refrigeration equipment will damage the ozone layer, causing the greenhouse effect and increasing the risk of human skin cancer. Low level of landfill or improper burning and regeneration of bromine flame retardants and chlorine plastic will release hazardous gases too.
Here are a list of some common hazardous materials contained in e-waste:
1. Lead – Present in computer CRT screens, circuit board and other components’ weldment
2. Cadmium – Present in SMD resistor, infrared generator, semiconductor, etc.
3. Mercury – Present in medical device, battery, thermometer, sensor, etc.
4. Selenium – Photocopiers, printer
5. Arsenic – Present in LED lights, cell phone,
6. Lithium – Present in Rechargeable Li-On batteries
7. Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) – Present in condenser, insulation foam and cooling unit
8. PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) – Present in transformers and condensers
All these listed chemical substances are harmful to human health and will possibly cause fatal disease like cancer if they are released to air and inhaled by human. Hence, proper disposal and recycling of e-waste is of great importance to safeguard our human health and environment.
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