Next Article in Journal
Sun Exposure Prevalence and Associated Skin Health Habits: Results from the Austrian Population-Based UVSkinRisk Survey
Previous Article in Journal
Human Health Risk Assessment of Artisanal Miners Exposed to Toxic Chemicals in Water and Sediments in the PresteaHuni Valley District of Ghana
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle

Heart Rate, Stress, and Occupational Noise Exposure among Electronic Waste Recycling Workers

Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Michigan, 1415 Washington Heights 6611 SPH I, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
Department of Biological, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Ghana-Legon, P.O. Box LG 13, Legon, Ghana
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Kim Natasha Dirks
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(1), 140;
Received: 17 November 2015 / Revised: 4 January 2016 / Accepted: 14 January 2016 / Published: 19 January 2016
PDF [1762 KB, uploaded 19 January 2016]


Electronic waste (e-waste) is a growing occupational and environmental health issue around the globe. E-waste recycling is a green industry of emerging importance, especially in low-and middle-income countries where much of this recycling work is performed, and where many people’s livelihoods depend on this work. The occupational health hazards of e-waste recycling have not been adequately explored. We performed a cross-sectional study of noise exposures, heart rate, and perceived stress among e-waste recycling workers at a large e-waste site in Accra, Ghana. We interviewed 57 workers and continuously monitored their individual noise exposures and heart rates for up to 24 h. More than 40% of workers had noise exposures that exceeded recommended occupational (85 dBA) and community (70 dBA) noise exposure limits, and self-reported hearing difficulties were common. Workers also had moderate to high levels of perceived stress as measured via Cohen’s Perceived Stress Scale, and reported a variety of symptoms that could indicate cardiovascular disease. Noise exposures were moderately and significantly correlated with heart rate (Spearman’s ρ 0.46, p < 0.001). A mixed effects linear regression model indicated that a 1 dB increase in noise exposure was associated with a 0.17 increase in heart rate (p-value = 0.01) even after controlling for work activities, age, smoking, perceived stress, and unfavorable physical working conditions. These findings suggest that occupational and non-occupational noise exposure is associated with elevations in average heart rate, which may in turn predict potential cardiovascular damage. View Full-Text
Keywords: electronic waste recycling; occupational health; noise exposure; stress; heart rate electronic waste recycling; occupational health; noise exposure; stress; heart rate

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Burns, K.N.; Sun, K.; Fobil, J.N.; Neitzel, R.L. Heart Rate, Stress, and Occupational Noise Exposure among Electronic Waste Recycling Workers. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 140.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top