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Latest Research Find E-Waste Emits Emerging Synthetic Antioxidants

Researchers investigated the occurrence of emerging hindered phenol antioxidants (HPAs) and sulphur antioxidants (SAs) in dust from e-waste recycling centres – workshops where large amounts of discarded electronics, such as laptop computers, cell phones, tablets, wires and cables are dismantled and processed

Latest Research Find E-Waste Emits Emerging Synthetic Antioxidants
A new research has detected a variety of emerging synthetic antioxidants in dust from electronic waste recycling workshops
Highlights
  • Researchers collected 45 dust samples from an industrial park in China
  • Samples were collected from 3 categories of e-waste recycling workshops
  • Researchers found synthetic oxidants in all dust samples

Washington: A new research has detected a variety of emerging synthetic antioxidants, called hindered phenol and sulphur antioxidants, in dust from electronic waste recycling workshops, possibly posing risks for the workers inside. The study has been published in the ‘Environmental Science & Technology Letters Journal’. Previous studies had revealed widespread environmental pollution and human exposure to a class of compounds called low-molecular weight synthetic phenolic antioxidants. In lab experiments, some of these compounds were toxic to rodents or human cells.

Also Read: IIT Madras Developing Platform To Tackle E-Waste By Linking Stakeholders In Formal, Informal Sector

Recently, manufacturers introduced a class of high-molecular weight synthetic phenolic antioxidants, also known as hindered phenol antioxidants (HPAs), with improved performance and slower migration from products.

In addition to HPAs, compounds called sulphur antioxidants (SAs) are often added to rubber and plastic polymers as “helper” antioxidants. The toxicological effects and environmental occurrence of most of these new compounds are unknown. Therefore, Lixi Zeng and colleagues wanted to investigate the occurrence of emerging HPAs and SAs in dust from e-waste recycling centres — workshops where large amounts of discarded electronics, such as laptop computers, cell phones, tablets, wires and cables are dismantled and processed.

Also Read: World’s E-Waste ‘Unsustainable’, Says U.N. Report Citing China, India And U.S.

In August 2020, the researchers collected 45 dust samples from three categories of e-waste recycling workshops in an industrial park in Yichun City, China: wire and cable dismantling, electronic plastic processing, and general e-waste dismantling.

Then, they used liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry to screen for 18 emerging HPAs and 6 emerging SAs. All 24 compounds were detected in the dust: 22 for the first time and some at relatively high levels compared with other e-waste pollutants. Although dust concentrations of SAs were similar for the different categories of workshops, centres that dismantled wires and cables and processed electronic plastics had significantly higher levels of dust HPAs than those that dismantled general e-wastes.

Also Read: Dump Responsibly! A Quick Guide On How To Dispose of Your E-waste Safely

Given the ubiquitous occurrence of emerging HPAs and SAs in e-waste dust, further research is needed on their environmental behaviours, fates, toxicities and risks, the researchers said.

The authors acknowledged funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Guangdong Special Support Program, the Guangdong (China) Innovative and Entrepreneurial Research Team Program, the Special Fund Project for Science and Technology Innovation Strategy of Guangdong Province and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities.

Also Read: Stop Tossing E-waste, Start Treating It: Here Are Five Ways To Manage Electronic Waste

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity,  that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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