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Environ Sci Technol. 2007 Apr 15;41(8):2730-7.

Spatial distribution of polybrominated diphenyl ethers and polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans in soil and combusted residue at Guiyu, an electronic waste recycling site in southeast China.

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Croucher Institute for Environmental Sciences, and Department of Biology, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, PR China.


Surface soils and combusted residue from a village located in southeast China, which has been intensely involved in the dismantling and "recycling" of computer parts (e-waste) for the past decade, were analyzed for polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs). Total PBDE concentrations were highest in combusted residue of plastic chips and cables collected from a residential area (33,000-97,400 ng/g, dry wt), in soils from an acid leaching site (2720-4250 ng/g, dry wt), and a printer roller dump site (593-2890 ng/g, dry wt). BDE-209 was the most dominant congener (35-82%) among the study sites indicating the prevalence of commercial Deca-BDE, however signature congeners from commercial Penta- and Octa-BDE were also found. PCDD/F concentrations were also highest in soil from the acid leaching site (12,500-89,800 pg/g, 203-1100 pg WHO-TEQ/g, dry wt) and in combusted residue (13,500-25,300 pg/g, 84.3-174 pg WHO-TEQ/g, dry wt) and were comparable to PCDD/F levels of some open dumping sites in Asian developing countries. Of the e-waste activities, acid leaching and open burning emitted the highest concentrations of PBDEs and PCDD/Fs. This study is among the very few studies dealing with the important issue of pollution generated from crude e-waste recycling. Our results showthatthe crude processing of e-waste has become one of the major contributors of PBDEs and PCDD/Fs to the terrestrial environment.

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