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Open AccessArticle

Health Assessment of Electronic Waste Workers in Chile: Participant Characterization

1
Programa de Salud Ambiental, Instituto de Salud Poblacional, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Independencia 939, Independencia, Santiago 8380453, Chile
2
Departamento de Enfermería, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Independencia 1027, Independencia, Santiago 8380453, Chile
3
Programa de Epidemiología, Instituto de Salud Poblacional, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Independencia 939, Independencia, Santiago 8380453, Chile
4
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, 1415 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(3), 386; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16030386
Received: 16 November 2018 / Revised: 15 January 2019 / Accepted: 16 January 2019 / Published: 29 January 2019
Little research has been done to evaluate the occupational health of electronic waste (e-waste) recycling workers in Latin America. The objective of this study was to complete comprehensive health evaluations on e-waste recycling workers in Chile and to compare those that work in informal (i.e., independent) to those that work in formal (i.e., established company) settings. A cross-sectional study in the summer of 2017 recruited 78 informal recycling workers from two cities and 15 formal e-waste recycling workers from a single recycling facility to assess exposures and health outcomes. Participants completed a health questionnaire and underwent a full health assessment. Herein, only health questionnaire data are reported. Participants were primarily male, middle-aged, married with children, and had worked in e-waste recycling for an average of 12 years. Participants generally reported good health status, and their prevalence of chronic diseases was comparable to national rates. Workers frequently reported exposures to several occupational stressors, including noise and insufficient income, as well as other mental health stressors. Occupational injuries were commonly reported and use of safety equipment was low. Only a few significant differences, generally of a rather small magnitude, were found between informal and formal workers. In conclusion, from survey data, we did not identify major risks to health among e-waste workers, and only minor differences between workers in informal and formal settings. View Full-Text
Keywords: electronic waste recycling; occupational health; public health; injuries; stress electronic waste recycling; occupational health; public health; injuries; stress
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Yohannessen, K.; Pinto-Galleguillos, D.; Parra-Giordano, D.; Agost, A.; Valdés, M.; Smith, L.M.; Galen, K.; Arain, A.; Rojas, F.; Neitzel, R.L.; Ruiz-Rudolph, P. Health Assessment of Electronic Waste Workers in Chile: Participant Characterization. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 386.

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