Levels of awareness and concentrations of heavy metals in the blood of electronic waste scavengers in Nigeria

Popoola, Oluseun E., Popoola, Abiodun O. and Purchase, Diane (2019) Levels of awareness and concentrations of heavy metals in the blood of electronic waste scavengers in Nigeria. Journal of Health and Pollution, 9 (21). ISSN 2156-9614

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Abstract

Background - Electronic waste (e-waste) contains both valuable and hazardous materials. E-waste scavengers specialize in the collection and crude recycling of waste electronics to retrieve valuable metals, which are then sold. These activities provide an income for scavengers, but also expose them to toxic heavy metals such as lead (Pb) and copper (Cu). Objectives - The aim of the present study was to investigate the level of awareness and concentrations of heavy metals (Pb, Cu, zinc (Zn) and manganese (Mn)) in the blood levels of e-waste scavengers at Jakande dumpsite, Alaba International Market, Lagos, Nigeria.

Methods - Material and data were collected by empirical survey with the use of a questionnaire to obtain information from e-waste scavengers. Blood samples of the scavengers in the present study (30 adult males exposed to recycling processes) were collected and concentrations of heavy metals were determined through acid digestion and the use of an atomic absorption spectrophotometer (AGILENT 55B AA, 2010).

Results - The geometric means of blood levels of Pb, Cu, Zn and Mn were 11.0, 33.85, 126.15 and 19.38 µg / dL, respectively. High concentrations of Pb and Mn (11.0 and 19.38 µg / dL) were found in the blood samples, while Zn and Cu (126.15 and 33.85 µg / dL) showed low concentrations. The maximum blood level of lead (BPb) (24.0 µg / dL) was extremely high compared to the maximum BPb of occupationally exposed males. Statistical analysis of the questionnaires showed that all of the respondents were male, and more than half (56.7%) were between 21-30 years of age and had been involved in recycling of e-waste for 1-5 years. The results showed that 83% of the respondents were aware that hazardous fractions in e-waste require special treatment, while 76.7% were aware of the possible negative impact on their health.

Conclusions - Lack of education, poverty and lack of effective enforcement of e-waste management and regulations are the major contributors to the current situation and thus scavengers carry on with their activities unhindered. The authors recommend the use of protective clothing, sensitization visits and awareness campaigns on the safe disposal of hazardous components.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Article number = 190311
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Natural Sciences
Item ID: 26303
Notes on copyright: This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/3.0/).
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Diane Purchase
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2019 22:31
Last Modified: 07 May 2019 22:21
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/26303

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