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Environ Sci Technol. 2007 Apr 1;41(7):2572-8.

Leaching assessments of hazardous materials in cellular telephones.

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Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Public Health Program, College of Health Sciences, University of California, Irvine, California 92697, USA.


Protocols for assessing the risks of discarded electronic products (e-waste) vary across jurisdictions, complicating the tasks of manufacturers and regulators. We compared the Federal Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP), California's Waste Extraction Test (WET), and the Total Threshold Limit Concentration (TTLC) on 34 phones to evaluate the consistency of hazardous waste classification. Our sample exceeded TCLP criteria only for lead (average 87.4 mg L(-1); range = 38.2-147.0 mg L(-1); regulatory limit = 5.0 mg L(-1), but failed TTLC for five metals: copper (average 203 g kg(-1); range = 186-224 g kg(-1); limit = 2.50 g kg(-1), nickel (9.25 g kg(-1); range = 6.34-11.20 g kg(-1); limit = 2.00 g kg(-1)), lead (10.14 g kg(-1); range = 8.2211.60 g kg(-1); limit = 1.00 g kg-1), antimony (1.02 g kg(-1); range = 0.86-1.29 g kg(-1); limit = 0.50 g kg(-1)), and zinc (11.01 g kg(-1); range = 8.82-12.80 g kg(-1); limit = 5.00 g kg(-1). Thresholds were not exceeded for WET. We detected several organic compounds, but at concentrations below standards. Brominated flame retardants were absent. These results improve existing environmental databases for e-waste and highlight the need to review regulatory testing for hazardous waste.

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