The Implications Of Electronic Waste On Human Health

Thanks to technology and consumer electronic use on the rise, it's not surprising that people are now producing more electronic waste than ever before. The term electronic waste refers to any component of electronics that have been discarded of and taken to a landfill or to another country where people take them apart in order to retrieve the metals found inside. Unfortunately, many pieces and parts found inside of electronics can have seriously negative health implications.

Why It's A Danger

Because most electronics contain valuable metals like gold and copper. some countries like China will hire people to break them down and remove the metals for profit. The process to do this is still very primitive and involves coming into direct contact with dangerous materials like lead, cadmium, and chromium. The inhalation of toxic fumes can be extremely harmful to human health as well as the environment. When these chemicals get into the water supply, it compounds the impact on humans. The toxic and dangerous byproducts pose some serious and often deadly health risks to people who come in contact with them on a regular basis.

How It Can Hurt People

While electronic waste is dangerous to everyone, children are especially vulnerable. Since young people have a higher intake of air, water, and food in relation to their size and weight, the absorption rate of these chemicals is increased. Some examples of the dangerous side effects of coming into contact with electronic waste include damage to the central nervous system, digestive system, and reproductive organs. It has also been shown to cause cancer in both children and adults who have been exposed to it for prolonged periods of time. 

What Can Be Done

While America has strict rules in place today for the proper disposal of electronic waste, these unscrupulous practices are still occurring in many foreign nations. As a consumer, it's important to dispose of all electronic waste in a responsible manner. Contact local organizations who may be able to re-use items like older computers or stereos. Authorized recycling centers will take almost all forms of electronic waste and be sure to dispose of them in a safe environment where harmful chemicals won't be released into the environment or come in contact with people. It's important to never throw old electronics into the trash, or else they will end up in a local landfill. As they decompose, the chemicals seep into the ground and water systems, causing serious risks for people nearby. Click here for info on electronic waste recycling.