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E-Waste in Africa: A Serious Threat to the Health of Children

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Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University at Albany, Rensselaer, NY 12144, USA
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CSIR Water Research Institute, P.O. Box AH 38, Achimota, Accra, Ghana
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Department of Biological, Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
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Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health, World Organization, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland
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A World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Children’s Environmental Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA
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A World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Children’s Health and the Environment, Child Health Research Center, The University of Queensland, South Brisbane 4101, Australia
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Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne 3010, Australia
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A World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Environmental Health, Institute for Health and the Environment, University at Albany, Rensselaer, NY 12144, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8488; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168488
Received: 30 June 2021 / Revised: 2 August 2021 / Accepted: 4 August 2021 / Published: 11 August 2021
Waste electronic and electrical equipment (e-waste) consists of used and discarded electrical and electronic items ranging from refrigerators to cell phones and printed circuit boards. It is frequently moved from developed countries to developing countries where it is dismantled for valuable metals in informal settings, resulting in significant human exposure to toxic substances. E-waste is a major concern in Africa, with large sites in Ghana and Nigeria where imported e-waste is dismantled under unsafe conditions. However, as in many developing countries, used electronic and electrical devices are imported in large quantities because they are in great demand and are less expensive than new ones. Many of these used products are irreparable and are discarded with other solid waste to local landfills. These items are then often scavenged for the purpose of extracting valuable metals by heating and burning, incubating in acids and other methods. These activities pose significant health risks to workers and residents in communities near recycling sites. E-waste burning and dismantling activities are frequently undertaken at e-waste sites, often in or near homes. As a result, children and people living in the surrounding areas are exposed, even if they are not directly involved in the recycling. While toxic substances are dangerous to individuals at any age, children are more vulnerable as they are going through important developmental processes, and some adverse health impacts may have long-term impacts. We review the e-waste situation in Africa with a focus on threats to children’s health. View Full-Text
Keywords: e-waste; children; Africa; air pollution; cognitive function; development e-waste; children; Africa; air pollution; cognitive function; development
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lebbie, T.S.; Moyebi, O.D.; Asante, K.A.; Fobil, J.; Brune-Drisse, M.N.; Suk, W.A.; Sly, P.D.; Gorman, J.; Carpenter, D.O. E-Waste in Africa: A Serious Threat to the Health of Children. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 8488. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168488

AMA Style

Lebbie TS, Moyebi OD, Asante KA, Fobil J, Brune-Drisse MN, Suk WA, Sly PD, Gorman J, Carpenter DO. E-Waste in Africa: A Serious Threat to the Health of Children. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(16):8488. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168488

Chicago/Turabian Style

Lebbie, Tamba S., Omosehin D. Moyebi, Kwadwo A. Asante, Julius Fobil, Marie N. Brune-Drisse, William A. Suk, Peter D. Sly, Julia Gorman, and David O. Carpenter. 2021. "E-Waste in Africa: A Serious Threat to the Health of Children" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 16: 8488. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168488

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