Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Sci Technol. 2008 Nov 15;42(22):8252-9.

Concentrations, profiles, and estimated human exposures for polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans from electronic waste recycling facilities and a chemical industrial complex in Eastern China.

Author information

School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 800 Dongchuan Road, Shanghai 200240, China.


Environmental pollution arising from electronic waste (e-waste) disposal and recycling has received considerable attention in recent years. Treatment, at low temperatures, of e-wastes that contain polyvinylchloride and related polymers can release polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs). Although several studies have reported trace metals and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) released from e-waste recycling operations, environmental contamination and human exposure to PCDD/Fs from e-waste recycling operations are less well understood. In this study, electronic shredder waste and dust from e-waste facilities, and leaves and surface soil collected in the vicinity of a large scale e-waste recycling facility in Taizhou, Eastern China, were analyzed for total PCDD/ Fs including 2,3,7,8-substituted congeners. We also determined PCDD/Fs in surface agricultural soils from several provinces in China for comparison with soils from e-waste facilities. Concentrations of total PCDD/Fs were high in all of the matrices analyzed and ranged from 30.9 to 11400 pg/g for shredder waste, 3460 to 9820 pg/g dry weight for leaves, 2560 to 148000 pg/g dry weight for workshop-floor dust, and 854 to 10200 pg/g dry weight for soils. We also analyzed surface soils from a chemical industrial complex (a coke-oven plant, a coal-fired power plant, and a chlor-alkali plant) in Shanghai. Concentrations of total PCDD/Fs in surface soil (44.5-531 pg/g dry wt) from the chemical industrial complex were lower than the concentrations found in soils from e-waste recycling plants, but higher than the concentrations found in agricultural soils. Agricultural soils from six cities in China contained low levels (3.44-33.8 pg/g dry wt) of total PCDD/Fs. Profiles of dioxin toxic equivalents (TEQs) of 2,3,7,8-PCDD/Fs in soils from e-waste facilities in Taizhou differed from the profiles found in agricultural soils. The estimated daily intakes of TEQs of PCDD/ Fs via soil/dust ingestion and dermal exposure (2.3 and 0.363 pg TEQ/kg bw/day for children and adults, respectively) were 2 orders of magnitude higher in people at e-waste recycling facilities than in people at the chemical industrial site (0.021 and 0.0053 pg TEQ/kg bw/day for children and adults, respectively), implying greater health risk for humans from dioxin exposures at e-waste recycling facilities. The calculated TEQ exposures for e-waste workers from dust and soil ingestion alone were 2-3 orders of magnitude greater than the exposures from soils in reference locations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center