Health Hazards of E-Waste You Didn’t Know About

Improperly disposing of  your electronic devices is a problem for the environment, but there are also many health hazards of e-waste as well. E-waste contains substances that are known to be toxic, suck as lead, cadmium, beryllium, and mercury. One of the larger health hazards of e-waste has to do with a toxic substance it contains in the form of brominated flame retardants. When you burn these materials at lower temperatures, they create even more toxins – like furans and halogenated dioxins, some of the most toxic substances that humankind is aware of. Additionally, brominate flame retardants have been correlated with fetal damage and thyroid problems.

Materials in electronics that are toxic, when disposed improperly become health hazards of e-waste, which include reproductive disorders, endocrine disruption and a slew of other health problems. Lead contained in electronic waste is known to be toxic to the kidneys, and it accumulates in the body and eventually affects our reproductive and nervous systems. Children are affected by the health hazards of e-waste as well, and their mental development can be harmed by low-level exposure to lead. PVC, another substance in e-waste when it is burned produces dioxins, which are some of the most toxic carcinogens that we know of. Barium will cause brain swelling after only a short exposure. It is known to cause weakness in muscles, and heart, liver and spleen damage. Finally, kidney and bone damage are two additional health hazards of e-waste, as long term exposure to Cadmium, a carcinogen will cause these ailments.

Are there only Health Hazards Involved with E-waste or does the problem affect other things?

Improper e-waste dumping hurts the planet, and all of its creatures. This includes, but isn’t limited to animals, birds, aquamarine life and sea mammals. When we allow chemical pollutants to be released in to the atmosphere, practically every living organism is impacted negatively. Further, our soil becomes polluted and the air released will contaminate our crops, herbs, plants, shrubs trees and grasses. Anything that comes in to contact with improperly managed e-waste is at risk.

What happens to our gadgets after we toss them? Why does improperly managing used gadgets cause health hazards associated with E-waste?

Sadly, only a very small percentage of e-waste is recycled. Only 12.5 percent of e-waste is recycled or reused properly. What’s more, the amount of e-waste we toss is rising – “300 million computers and 1 BILLION cell phones are put into production each year. This global mountain of waste is expected to continue growing 8% per year, indefinitely.” As we continue to throw out electronic devices irresponsibly, shelf life for these gadgets is decreasing, and we are encouraged to buy more and more product.

When we dump or burn our e-waste, it releases toxins in to the air. Inappropriate methods of disposing of e-waste cause us to fail to reclaim valuable materials or manage toxic materials in a safe way. This leads to contamination of our soil, water and air, and for these reasons, there are numerous health hazards of e-waste.


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