A review of environmental fate, body burdens, and human health risk assessment of PCDD/Fs at two typical electronic waste recycling sites in China

Janet Kit Yan Chan, Ming Hung WONG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper reviews the levels of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) in different environmental media, human body burdens and health risk assessment results at e-waste recycling sites in China. To provide an indication of the seriousness of the pollution levels in the e-waste recycling sites in China, the data are compared with guidelines and available existing data for other areas. The comparison clearly shows that PCDD/Fs derived from the recycling processes lead to serious pollution in different environmental compartments (such as air, soil, sediment, dust and biota) and heavy body burdens. Of all kinds of e-waste recycling operations, open burning of e-waste and acid leaching activities are identified as the major sources of PCDD/Fs. Deriving from the published data, the estimated total exposure doses via dietary intake, inhalation, soil/dust ingestion and dermal contact are calculated for adults, children and breast-fed infants living in two major e-waste processing locations in China. The values ranged from 5.59 to 105.16. pg. WHO-TEQ/kg. bw/day, exceeding the tolerable daily intakes recommended by the WHO (1-4. pg. WHO-TEQ/kg. bw/day). Dietary intake is the most important exposure route for infants, children and adults living in these sites, contributing 60-99% of the total intakes. Inhalation is the second major exposure route, accounted for 12-30% of the total exposure doses of children and adults. In order to protect the environment and human health, there is an urgent need to control and monitor the informal e-waste recycling operations. Knowledge gaps, such as comprehensive dietary exposure data, epidemiological and clinical studies, body burdens of infants and children, and kinetics about PCDD/Fs partitions among different human tissues should be addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1111-1123
Number of pages13
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume463-464
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

User-Defined Keywords

  • Body burden
  • China
  • Electronic waste recycling
  • Health risk assessment
  • Polychlorinated dioxins and furans

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