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Reuse is an alternative option to recycling because it extends the lifespan of a device.

Devices still need eventual recycling, but by allowing others to purchase used electronics, recycling can be postponed and value gained from device use. Recycling raw materials from end-of-life electronics is the most effective solution to the growing e-waste problem. Most electronic devices contain a variety of materials, including metals that can be recovered for future uses.

By dismantling and providing reuse possibilities, intact natural resources are conserved and air and water pollution caused by hazardous disposal is avoided. Additionally, recycling reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emissions caused by the manufacturing of new products. Materials that can be recycled include "ferrous iron-based and non-ferrous metals, glass, and various types of plastic. Ferrous metals such as steel and iron also can be re-used. Benefits of recycling are extended when responsible recycling methods are used.

In the U. Responsible recycling ensures best management practices of the electronics being recycled, worker health and safety, and consideration for the environment locally and abroad. Since many companies were responsible for the recycling of their own products, this imposed responsibility on manufacturers requiring many to redesign their infrastructure. As a result, manufacturers in Japan have the added option to sell the recycled metals.

One of the factors which exacerbate the e-waste problem is the diminishing lifetime of many electrical and electronic goods.

Electronic waste

There are two drivers in particular for this trend. On the one hand, consumer demand for low cost products mitigates against product quality and results in short product lifetimes. Consumer dissatisfaction with this state of affairs has led to a growing repair movement. The " Right to Repair " is spearheaded in the US by farmers dissatisfied with non-availability of service information, specialised tools and spare parts for their high-tech farm machinery.

But the movement extends far beyond farm machinery with, for example, the restricted repair options offered by Apple coming in for criticism. Manufacturers often counter with safety concerns resulting from unauthorised repairs and modifications.

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Some computer components can be reused in assembling new computer products, while others are reduced to metals that can be reused in applications as varied as construction, flatware, and jewellery. Substances found in large quantities include epoxy resins , fiberglass , PCBs , PVC polyvinyl chlorides , thermosetting plastics , lead, tin, copper, silicon, beryllium, carbon, iron, and aluminium. Elements found in small amounts include cadmium , mercury , and thallium.

Almost all electronics contain lead and tin as solder and copper as wire and printed circuit board tracks , though the use of lead-free solder is now spreading rapidly.

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The following are ordinary applications:. There is also evidence of cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of some chemicals, which have been shown to inhibit cell proliferation, cause cell membrane lesion, cause DNA single-strand breaks, and elevate Reactive Oxygen Species ROS levels. Residents living around the e-waste recycling sites, even if they do not involve in e-waste recycling activities, can also face the environmental exposure due to the food, water, and environmental contamination caused by e-waste, because they can easily contact to e-waste contaminated air, water, soil, dust, and food sources.

In general, there are three main exposure pathways: inhalation, ingestion, and dermal contact. Studies show that people living around e-waste recycling sites have a higher daily intake of heavy metals and a more serious body burden. Potential health risks include mental health, impaired cognitive function, and general physical health damage.

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Prenatal exposure to e-waste has found to have adverse effects on human body burden of pollutants of the neonates. In Guiyu, one of the most famous e-waste recycling sites in China, it was found that increased cord blood lead concentration of neonates was associated with parents' participation in e-waste recycling processes, as well as how long the mothers spent living in Guiyu and in e-waste recycling factories or workshops during pregnancy. Prenatal exposure to informal e-waste recycling can also lead to several adverse birth outcomes still birth, low birth weight, low Apgar scores, etc.

Children are especially sensitive to e-waste exposure because of several reasons, such as their smaller size, higher metabolism rate, larger surface area in relation to their weight, and multiple exposure pathways for example, dermal, hand-to-mouth, and take-home exposure. Exposure to e-waste can cause serious health problems to children.

Children's exposure to developmental neurotoxins containing in e-waste such as lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium and PBDEs can lead to a higher risk of lower IQ, impaired cognitive function, and other adverse effects. OSHA has also specified some chemical components of electronics that can potentially do harm to e-recycling workers' health, such as lead, mercury, PCBs, asbestos, refractory ceramic fibers RCFs , and radioactive substances. For the details of health consequences of these chemical hazards, see also Electronic waste Electronic waste substances.

Informal e-recycling industry refers to small e-waste recycling workshops with few if any automatic procedures and personal protective equipment PPE. On the other hand, formal e-recycling industry refers to regular e-recycling facilities sorting materials from e-waste with automatic machinery and manual labor, where pollution control and PPE are common. The health impact of e-waste recycling workers working in informal industry and formal industry are expect to be different in the extent. However, Co , Ag , Cd , and Hg levels were significantly higher in the slum community workers compared to the facility workers.

Even in formal e-recycling industry, workers can be exposed to excessive pollutants. Studies in the formal e-recycling facilities in France and Sweden found workers' overexposure compared to recommended occupational guidelines to lead, cadmium, mercury and some other metals, as well as BFRs, PCBs, dioxin and furans. Workers in formal industry are also exposed to more brominated flame-retardants than reference groups. For occupational health and safety of e-waste recycling workers, both employers and workers should take actions.

Suggestions for the e-waste facility employers and workers given by California Department of Public Health are illustrated in the graphic. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Discarded electronic devices. The neutrality of this article is disputed. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page.

Electronic waste

Please do not remove this message until conditions to do so are met. May Learn how and when to remove this template message. Hoarding left , disassembling center and collecting right electronic waste in Bengaluru , India.

See also: Global Waste Trade and Electronic waste by country. Main article: Electronic waste in China.

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  4. See also: Appliance recycling , Computer recycling , and Mobile phone recycling. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources.

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