Chemical characterization and toxicity assessment for the sustainable management of end of life cathode ray tubes
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Cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors represent currently one of the most produced category of electronic waste. In CRTs most of the glass components contain lead, posing serious concern for its possible release during improper management of end-of-life devices. Nevertheless the fluorescent powders, forming a layer on CRT panel glass, may cause further adverse effects on the environment. Although lead leachability from CRT glass is well known, the hazard for the release of the fluorescent powders into the environment has not been evaluated, as the ecotoxicity potential of this matrix is not fully understood yet. The aim of the present study was to characterize both leaded glass and fluorescent powder toxicity potential for the sustainable management of waste CRTs. Representative samples of both matrices were collected at a full-scale treatment plant and analysed by their metal content as well as their ecotoxicological properties, to identify the potential for hazard. Experimental results indicated that both leaded glass and fluorescent powders are characterized by a wide variety of metals, differently influencing their potential for hazard. Ecotoxicological responses further suggest that the environmental burdens associated with the management of these matrices can be limited through the implementation of strategies reducing the formation of leachates, pointing out the urgent need for both policies and techniques promoting resource recovery from this class of electronic waste.
KeywordsMetal Rare earth elements Recovery Risk WEEE
Research activities were partially funded by the FARB project of the University of Salerno. The authors wish to thank the technical manager and the staff of the waste treatment facility for the valuable support during the sampling campaign.
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