Persistent toxic substances released from uncontrolled e-waste recycling and actions for the future

Ming Man, Ravi Naidu, Ming Hung WONG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was adopted on March 22, 1989 and enforced on May 5, 1992. Since then, the USA, one of the world's largest e-waste producers, has not ratified this Convention or the Basel Ban Amendment. Communities are still debating the legal loophole, which permits the export of whole products to other countries provided it is not for recycling. In January 2011, China's WEEE Directive was implemented, providing stricter control over e-waste imports to China, including Hong Kong, while emphasizing that e-waste recycling is the producers' responsibility. China is expected to supersede the USA as the principal e-waste producer, by 2020, according to the UNEP.Uncontrolled e-waste recycling activities generate and release heavy metals and POPs into the environment, which may be re-distributed, bioaccumulated and biomagnified, with potentially adverse human health effects. Greater efforts and scientific approaches are needed for future e-product designs of minimal toxic metal and compound use, reaping greater benefits than debating the definition and handling responsibilities of e-waste recycling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1133-1137
Number of pages5
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

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

User-Defined Keywords

  • Dioxin
  • Electronic waste
  • Heavy metals
  • Persistent organic pollutants
  • Waste management


Dive into the research topics of 'Persistent toxic substances released from uncontrolled e-waste recycling and actions for the future'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this