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Risk assessment of lead and cadmium exposure from electronic waste recycling facilities in Southern Thailand

Abstract

Electronic waste (e-waste) contains a variety of toxic substances that can be released into the surrounding environment and adversely affects human health when a primitive recycling process is used. This research aims to investigate the concentrations of lead and cadmium in soil and in the blood of workers at e-waste recycling facilities, to examine the correlation between the concentrations of lead and cadmium in soil and in the blood of the workers and to assess the health risks from the exposure of lead and cadmium in the soil at the e-waste recycling facilities. The results of this study showed that the concentrations of lead and cadmium found in the soil were 1.150 ± 0.00–2866.97 ± 31.54 and 0.181 ± 0.00–0.200 ± 0.00 mg/kg, respectively. The concentrations of lead were over the standard limit in Thailand. Moreover, the concentration of lead in the soil correlated to that in the blood of the workers. The concentration of lead in the men’s blood was two times higher than in the women’s blood. Lead and cadmium concentrations in smokers’ blood were higher than that in the non-smokers. The determinations of lead and cadmium exposure among workers at e-waste recycling facilities were 1.54 × 10−6–6.28 × 10−3 and 9.05 × 10−8–2.27 × 10−7 mg/kg, respectively. The greatest Hazard Quotient (HQ) of lead exceeded 1.74, signifying that high exposure of lead might pose a potential health risk to workers in e-waste recycling facilities.

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Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank National Research Council of Thailand and Research and Development Institute Thaksin University (Project no. R01-181513) for the financial support of this study. Finally, the authors would like to thank Dr. Foyfa Shutidamrong and Mr. Christopher Joseph Forti (English adviser and English proof reader, Thaksin University) for suggestions on the language and structure of manuscript.

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Correspondence to Peeranart Kiddee.

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Kiddee, P., Decharat, S. Risk assessment of lead and cadmium exposure from electronic waste recycling facilities in Southern Thailand. Environ Earth Sci 77, 456 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-018-7648-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-018-7648-3

Keywords

  • E-waste
  • Lead
  • Cadmium
  • E-waste recycling facility
  • Risk assessment