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Is informal electronic waste recycling a newer source for atmospheric industrial persistent organic pollutants in Indian metropolitan cities?

Prithiviraj, Balasubramanian, Chakraborty, Paromita
Current opinion in environmental science & health 2019 v.8 pp. 29-35
cities, electronic wastes, persistent organic pollutants, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, polychlorinated biphenyls, recycling, toxic substances, toxicity, India
This is a concise review of articles pertaining to studies in the recent past showing the evidence for emission of industrial persistent organic pollutants (iPOPs) such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) from major metropolitan cities of India. Recent studies have shown the occurrence of relatively higher levels of iPOPs such as PCBs and PBDEs because of informal electronic waste recycling. This reflects a relatively newer source of these compounds in India. Prospect of recovering resources from electronic waste is promising on the economic front for the informal sector, but emission of toxic PCBs and PBDEs was found to be inevitable. Lack of sustainable techniques and practice of rudimentary methods for recycling by informal recyclers are leading to emission of several hazardous substances including iPOPs. Not only the workers in the recycling workshops are exposed to such toxicants but also the surrounding community dwellers might be adversely impacted because of prolonged exposure. In addition, atmospheric transport of iPOPs from such hotspots might impact the pristine sites.