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Health Status of Elderly People Living Near E-Waste Recycling Sites: Association of E-Waste Dismantling Activities with Legacy Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs)

Zhang, Tao, Zhang, Bo, Bai, Xueyuan, Yao, Yiming, Wang, Lei, Shu, Yingying, Kannan, Kurunthachalam, Huang, Xiongfei, Sun, Hongwen
Environmental science & technology letters 2019 v.6 no.3 pp. 133-140
blood glucose, blood serum, body mass index, elderly, electronic wastes, health status, immunosuppression, perfluorocarbons, perfluorooctanoic acid, recycling, urine, China
The elderly people living near electronic waste (e-waste) dismantling sites are susceptible to elevated chemical exposure, which is acerbated by hypometabolism and diminished immune tolerance. In this study, paired serum and urine samples collected from 1025 elderly people (≥60 years old) living near e-waste dismantling sites (n = 800) and reference areas (n = 225) in South China were analyzed for markers of health status and chemical exposures. Our results indicated that among all the health indicators fasting blood glucose (FBG) and urinary clinical markers were significantly higher in e-waste areas than in the reference area. Sixteen legacy perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) were determined in serum samples of elderly individuals living near e-waste dismantling areas (n = 171) and a reference area (n = 50). Serum PFASs concentrations in individuals from e-waste dismantling areas were significantly higher (p < 0.05) than those from the reference area, which indicated that e-waste dismantling activities are a source of exposure to PFASs. Association between PFASs exposure and personal health history showed that body mass index (BMI) was significantly positively (p < 0.05) associated with serum PFHxA, PFHpA, PFOA, and PFNA concentrations. Negative associations between FBG and serum PFUnDA (r = −0.160, p < 0.05) and PFTeDA (r = −0.157, p < 0.05) were also found. Our results suggest that PFASs exposure is associated with adverse health outcomes in elderly population living around e-waste dismantling sites.