Background and Objective: Electronic waste (e-waste) is an emerging environmental health issue because of its fast accumulation as well as inadequate development in recycling technology. Guiyu, a town in south China, is one of the biggest e-waste recycling centers in the world. E-waste is disassembled and recycled by locals with crude and uncontrolled methods that produce extensive environmental pollutants. The objective of this study is to provide evidence for association between risk to human health and exposure to this e-waste recycling. Methods: Heavy metals of blood were determined by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) of blood were determined by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry in the electron capture negative ionization mode. Questionnaires were used and involved examination and experiments were conducted. All data were analyzed statistically. Results: Guiyu children and/or neonates had significantly elevated blood lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), manganese (Mn), nickel (Ni), PBDEs, PAHs and PCB, and with impairment of neurobehavioral development, temperament alterations, lower forced volume vital capacity (FVC), male neonatal AGD (Anogenital Distance) increment, damage of lymphocyte DNA and changes of antioxidant enzymes activities. Guiyu neonates showed much higher rates of adverse birth outcomes such as fetal death, low birth weight and preterm delivery. Conclusion: Our studies suggest that environmental pollution by improper e-waste process has adversely affected local health, and especially affected children and infant health and development. This kind of exposure to e-waste chemicals may cause long-term adverse outcomes for health.


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  • Received: 07 May 2012
  • Accepted: 07 May 2012
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