Pollutants or toxins in E-Waste are typically concentrated in circuit boards, batteries, plastics, and LCDs (liquid crystal displays). These pollutants directly affect the human body. The substances found inside discarded electronics are capable to cause variety of disease to human beings, effects of some of the chemicals found in this substances are -
Brominated flame retardants: Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) have routinely been added to consumer products for several decades in a successful effort to reduce fire-related injury and property damage. Recently, concern for this emerging class of chemicals has risen because of the occurrence of several classes of BFRs in the environment and in human biota. The widespread production and use of BFRs; strong evidence of increasing contamination of the environment, wildlife, and people; and limited knowledge of potential effects heighten the importance of identifying emerging issues associated with the use of BFRs. These do not decompose easily in the environment, and long term exposure can cause impaired memory function and learning. Pregnant women exposed to brominated flame retardants have been shown to give birth to babies with behavioral problems as it interferes with estrogen and thyroid functioning.Lead: Lead is a naturally-occurring element that can be harmful to humans when ingested or inhaled, particularly to children under the age of six. Found in most computer monitors and televisions, lead exposure leads to intellectual impairment in children and serious damages to human reproductive systems, the nervous system and blood. Lead poisoning can cause a number of adverse human health effects, but is particularly detrimental to the neurological development of children.Cadmium: The kidney is the critical target organ for the general population as well as for occupationally exposed populations. Cadmium is known to accumulate in the human kidney for a relatively long time, from 20 to 30 years, and, at high doses, is also known to produce health effects on the respiratory system and has been associated with bone disease. Found in rechargeable batteries for laptop computer and other electronic devices, can cause damage to kidneys and bones. Cadmium can be bio-accumulate in the environment and is extremely toxic to human, in particular adversely affecting kidneys and bones.
Mercury: Elemental and methyl mercury are toxic to the central and peripheral nervous systems. The inhalation of mercury vapor can produce harmful effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, lungs and kidneys, and may be fatal. The inorganic salts of mercury are corrosive to the skin, eyes and gastrointestinal tract, and may induce kidney toxicity if ingested. Neurological and behavioral disorders may be observed after inhalation, ingestion or dermal exposure of different mercury compounds. Symptoms include tremors, insomnia, memory loss, neuromuscular effects, headaches and cognitive and motor dysfunction. Kidney effects have been reported, ranging from increased protein in the urine to kidney failure. Mercury (Hg), which is used in lightening devices in flat screen monitors and televisions can cause damage to the breast milk.Hexavalent Chromium Compounds: Hexavalent chromium is a toxic form of the element chromium. Hexavalent chromium compounds are man-made and widely used in many different industries. A known carcinogen, these are used in the creation of metal housing which are typical of many electronic products. It can cause lung cancer, irritation or damage to the nose, throat, and lung (respiratory tract), irritation or damage to the eyes and skin etc.Plastic compounds: Poly vinyl chloride (PVC) cabling is used for printed circuit boards, connectors, plastic covers and cables. When burnt or land-filled, these PVCs release dioxins that have harmful effects on human reproductive and immune systems.