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J Hazard Mater. 2011 Feb 28;186(2-3):1966-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2010.12.091. Epub 2010 Dec 25.

Elevated concentrations of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in hair from workers at an electronic waste recycling facility in eastern China.

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


Hair samples collected from e-waste recycling workers (n=23 males, n=4 females) were analyzed to assess occupational exposures to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) at a large e-waste recycling facility in Taizhou, eastern China. Hair samples from a reference population composed of residents of Shanghai (n=11) were analyzed for comparison. The mean concentration of ∑PBDEs (range, 22.8-1020 ng/g dw; mean, 157 ng/g dw) found in hair samples from e-waste recycling workers was approximately 3 times higher than the mean determined for the reference samples. The congener profiles of PBDEs in hair from e-waste recycling workers were dominated by BDE 209, whereas the profiles in the reference-population samples showed comparable levels of BDE 47 and BDE 209. Total PCDD/F concentrations in hair from e-waste workers (range, 126-5820 pg/g dw; mean, 1670 pg/g dw) were approximately 18-fold greater than the concentrations measured in hair from the reference population. Concentrations of PCDFs were greater than concentrations of PCDDs, in all of the hair samples analyzed (samples from e-waste and non-e-waste sites). Tetrachlorodibenzofurans (TCDFs) were the major homologues in hair samples. Overall, e-waste recycling workers had elevated concentrations of both PBDEs and PCDD/Fs, indicating that they are exposed to high levels of multiple persistent organic pollutants.

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