John Libbey Eurotext

Environnement, Risques & Santé

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Potential health impacts of waste electrical and electronic equipment management: a brief comparison between emerging and developed countries Volume 17, issue 1, January-February 2018

Authors
1 Agence de l’environnement et de la maîtrise de l’énergie
20, avenue du Grésillé
BP 90406 Angers Cedex 01
France
2 Agence de l’environnement et de la maîtrise de l’énergie
27, rue Louis Vicat
75015 Paris
France
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  • Key words: risk assessment, waste management, developed countries, developing countries
  • DOI : 10.1684/ers.2017.1120
  • Page(s) : 57-64
  • Published in: 2018

A literature review was conducted to examine the emissions and health impacts of WEEE treatment sites in developing and developed countries. The sources for treatment sites in emerging countries were bibliographic reviews, while the original publications were used for developed countries. The increasing quantities of WEEE contain many harmful substances such as heavy metals and halogenated compounds. The processing conditions in emerging countries are more harmful to the environment, workers in recycling centers and people living near the workshops than in developed countries. Numerous epidemiological studies have shown the deleterious effects of the treatment of WEEE in emerging countries as well as contamination of the environment around treatment centers and disposal sites. The few studies conducted in developed countries show possible exposures above regulatory occupational thresholds. However, ventilation methods and appropriate dismantling protocols can easily decrease them to below the exposure limits. There is also little information available about possible environmental contaminant dispersion.

Environmental data can be obtained through 1) analyses of Classified Installations for Environmental Protection, which is time-consuming because there are over 600 plants, or 2) metrology research. To better understand emissions from treatment facilities of WEEE, particularly those where the WEEE is crushed, monitoring should focus on: dust, and especially bromine (Br), cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), lead (Pb), yttrium (Y) and barium (Ba) as well as flame retardants.