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Global occurrence, chemical properties, and ecological impacts of e-wastes (IUPAC technical report)

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Author(s)

  • Diane Purchase
  • Golnoush Abbasi
  • Lieselot Bisschop
  • Debashish Chatterjee
  • Christian Ekberg
  • Mikhail Ermolin
  • Petr Fedotov
  • Hemda Garelick
  • Khadijah Isimekhai
  • Nadia G. Kandile
  • Mari Lundström
  • Bradley W. Miller
  • Antonio Pineda
  • Oluseun E. Popoola
  • Teodora Retegan
  • Heinz Ruedel
  • Angela Serpe
  • Yehuda Sheva
  • Kiran R. Surati
  • Fiona Walsh
  • Benjamin P. Wilson
  • Ming Hung Wong

Department/unit(s)

Publication details

JournalPURE AND APPLIED CHEMISTRY
DateAccepted/In press - 5 Feb 2020
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 19 Aug 2020
Number of pages34
Early online date19/08/20
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The waste stream of obsolete electronic equipment grows exponentially, creating a worldwide pollution and resource problem. Electrical and electronic waste (e-waste) comprises a heterogeneous mix of glass, plastics (including flame retardants and other additives), metals (including rare Earth elements), and metalloids. The e-waste issue is complex and multi-faceted. In examining the different aspects of e-waste, informal recycling in developing countries has been identified as a primary concern, due to widespread illegal shipments; weak environmental, as well as health and safety, regulations; lack of technology; and inadequate waste treatment structure. For example, Nigeria, Ghana, India, Pakistan, and China have all been identified as hotspots for the disposal of e-waste. This article presents a critical examination on the chemical nature of e-waste and the resulting environmental impacts on, for example, microbial biodiversity, flora, and fauna in e-waste recycling sites around the world. It highlights the different types of risk assessment approaches required when evaluating the ecological impact of e-waste. Additionally, it presents examples of chemistry playing a role in potential solutions. The information presented here will be informative to relevant stakeholders seeking to devise integrated management strategies to tackle this global environmental concern.

Bibliographical note

© 2020 IUPAC & De Gruyter

    Research areas

  • chemical composition, e-waste, ecological assessment, environmental impacts, recycling

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