The impact of e-Waste
The damaging environmental impact of e-Waste is immense both short and long term. All electronic components contain a number of contaminants which, if placed in landfill site, eventually leach into the earth and air with serious potential repercussions.
e-Waste is highly toxic if not disposed of effectively. E-Waste connected health risks may result from direct contact with harmful materials such as lead, cadmium, chromium, brominated flame retardants or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), from inhalation of toxic fumes as well as from accumulation of chemicals in soil, water and ultimately the food chain. In addition to the hazardous components being processed, e-Waste can give rise to a number of toxic by-products likely to affect human health.
Lead is toxic to the kidneys, accumulating in the body and eventually affecting the nervous and reproductive systems. Children’s mental development can be impaired by low-level exposure to lead.
Barium produces brain swelling after a short exposure; it may cause weakness in the muscles as well as the heart, liver, and spleen.
Hexavalent chromium damages kidneys, the liver, and DNA. Asthmatic bronchitis has been linked to this substance.
Mercury is known to harm developing fetuses and is passed through mothers’ milk to new-borns. In adults, it can cause brain and kidney damage.
In fact there are over 20 different chemicals in E-waste.
Out of sight can no longer be out of mind. New Zealanders must ACT NOW and take responsibility for the safe disposal of their electronic and electrical items.
At E-WISE, we are proud to say that 100% of the e-Waste we accept is recycled or safely stored on-site for future use or until a solution can be found.
WE NEED TO ACT NOW!
Image: UN Health Site