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The health risks of exposure to e-waste

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High proliferation of electronic gadgets has increased the challenges of how to correctly dispose of the ever-growing amount of electronic waste, which poses serious potential risks to human health. This discussion will highlight how e-waste affects human health. We will begin by defining e-waste, its components, affects on human health and ways to prevent and reduce such waste. Electronic waste comprises of items such as televisions, computers and mobile phones, as well as a wide range of household, medical and industrial electronics. Due to the rapid development and evolution of today’s electronic devices more and more devices are being discarded in favour of newer and more advanced versions (Hester & Harrison 2009: 264). The uncontrolled conglomeration of e-waste can lead to major environmental problems, which may directly affect human health. It is in the interests of human health for humans to better understand the potential risks and results of human exposure to e-waste. According to Bloom (2010:562) the global population has increased significantly in recent years and is set to further increase in the future. The most prevalent hazardous materials found in electronics are Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead and Mercury. E-waste management methods such as incineration and purging have a significant impact on the air and also remaining water supplies, as both become polluted and thereby serving a threat to human health (Needhidasan et al., 2014:1). Cadmium based products such as batteries are often dumped with everyday waste. Food is the main source of Cadmium exposure in humans, exposure results in kidney damage as well as bone defects. Humans are usually exposed to Arsenic via drinking water or food results in an individual being inc...

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