A Pilot Assessment of Occupational Health Hazards in the US Electronic Scrap Recycling Industry
Source:J Occup Environ Hyg. 12(7):482-488.
Electronic Scrap Recycling
Electronic Waste Recycling
Health And Safety
National Institute For Occupational Safety And Health (U.S.)
Personal Protective Equipment
Surveys And Questionnaires
Pubmed Central ID:PMC4527159
Funding:CC999999/Intramural CDC HHS/United States
DW-75-92357701-0/PHS HHS/United States
Description:The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) surveyed a randomly selected sample of electronic scrap (e-scrap) recycling facilities nationwide to characterize work processes, exposures, and controls. Despite multiple attempts to contact 278 facilities, only 47 responded (17% response rate). Surveyed facilities reported recycling a wide variety of electronics. The most common recycling processes were manual dismantling and sorting. Other processes included shredding, crushing, and automated separation. Many facilities reported that they had health and safety programs in place. However, some facilities reported the use of compressed air for cleaning, a practice that can lead to increased employee dust exposures, and some facilities allowed food and drinks in the production areas, a practice that can lead to ingestion of contaminants. Although our results may not be generalizable to all US e-scrap recycling facilities, they are informative regarding health and safety programs in the industry. We concluded that e-scrap recycling has the potential for a wide variety of occupational exposures particularly because of the frequent use of manual processes. On-site evaluations of e-scrap recyclers are needed to determine if reported work processes, practices, and controls are effective and meet current standards and guidelines. Educating the e-scrap recycling industry about health and safety best practices, specifically related to safe handling of metal dust, would help protect employees.
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