The health effects of exposure to pollutants from electronic waste (e-waste) pose an important issue. In this study, we explored the association between oxidative stress and blood levels of e-waste-related pollutants. Blood samples were collected from individuals living in the proximity of an e-waste recycling site located in northern China, and pollutants, as well as reactive oxygen species (ROS), were measured in comparison to a reference population. The geometric mean concentrations of PCBs, dechlorane plus, and 2,2',4,4',5,5'-hexabromobiphenyl in plasma from the exposure group were 60.4, 9.0, and 0.55 ng g(-1) lipid, respectively, which were 2.2, 3.2, and 2.2 times higher than the corresponding measurement in the reference group. Correspondingly, ROS levels in white blood cells, including in neutrophil granulocytes, from the exposure group were significantly higher than in those from the reference group, suggesting potential ROS related health effects for residents at the e-waste site. In contrast, fewer ROS were generated in the respiratory burst of neutrophil granulocytes for the exposure group, indicating a depressed innate immune function for the individuals living at the e-waste site. These findings suggest a potential linkage between exposure to pollutants from e-waste recycling and both elevated oxidative stress and altered immune function.
Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are important persistent organic pollutants. Analysis of BFRs in atmospheric samples in a previous study led us to suspect the presence of unidentified organic bromides, other than polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), in the atmosphere. In this study, we identified and quantified polybromobenzenes, a group of organic bromides, in air samples collected through passive sampling in gridded observations in North China. We investigated their concentrations and spatial distribution, and estimated the proportion due to different sources. We detected seven species of polybromobenzenes, including hexabromobenzene (HBB), pentabromotoluene (PBT), pentabromoethylbenzene (PBEB), pentabromobenzene (PeBB), tetrabromobenzenes (TeBBs), and tribromotoluene (TrBT), in all or most of the field samples, indicating widespread occurrence of this class of pollutants. The median concentrations of each pollutant ranged from 20.0 to 144 pg/sample (or from 0.07 to 1.16 pg/m(3)), with relatively high concentrations found near e-waste recycling sites, BFR manufacturing sites, and areas of high population density. Positive matrix factorization (PMF) analysis revealed that similar to 70% of HBB, PBT, PBEB, and PeBB was from commercial products, while similar to 80% of 1,2,3,S-TeBB, 1,2,4,S-TeBB, and 2,4,5-TrBT was linked with BFR manufacturing. This study provides essential information on widespread polybromobenzene pollutants in the atmosphere, particularly TeBBs and TrBT, for which this is the first report of their presence as atmospheric pollutants.
Polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs) belong to a group of dioxin-like pollutants; however little information is available on PCNs in North China. In this study, gridded field observations by passive air sampling at 90 sites were undertaken to determine the levels, spatial distributions, and sources of PCNs in the atmosphere of North China. A median concentration of 48 pg m(-3) (range: 10-2460 pg m(-3)) for Sigma(29)PCNs indicated heavy PCN pollution. The compositional profile indicated that nearly 90% of PCNs observed were from thermal processes rather than from commercial mixtures. Regarding the source type, a quantitative apportionment suggested that local non-point emissions contributed two-thirds of the total PCNs observed in the study, whereas a point source of electronic-waste recycling site contributed a quarter of total PCNs. The estimated toxic equivalent quantity for dioxin-like PCNs ranged from 0.97 to 687 fg TEQ m(-3), with the electronic-waste recycling site with the highest risk. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Human exposure to pollutants from e-waste is an important scientific issue for their health effects. In this study, organohalogen pollutants in human serum sample from an e-waste dismantling site (n = 35) and a control site (n = 21), both located in Tianjin, Northern China, were analyzed using GC-ECNI-MS. Geometric mean concentrations of tetra- through hexa-BDEs, hepta- through nona-BDEs, PCBs, PBB-153, and DP in the exposure group were 2.77, 12.2, 44.1, 0.52, and 7.64 ng g(-1) lipid, respectively, which ranged from 1.5 to 7.4-fold higher than those in the control group through multivariate regression analysis, indicating that working and/or living in the e-waste site was associated with elevated body concentrations of these pollutants. Pollutants with low vapor pressures (i.e., hepta- through nona-BDEs and DP) were at significantly higher levels for e-waste dismantling workers than for local residents living around the e-waste site, suggesting higher exposure to these pollutants might exist for the occupational workers. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are important pollutants, yet few data on ambient BFRs levels have been available for North China, one of the most developed regions of the country. In this study, we investigated levels and spatial distributions of BFRs based on gridded field observations coupled with passive air sampling in the aforementioned region. A model incorporating both point and nonpoint sources was developed to simulate the spatial distribution and to achieve source apportionment. Although high concentration was observed at an electronic-waste (e-waste) recycling site, the median level of the sum of tri-, tetra-, hepta-, hexa-, and hepta-PBDEs (Sigma 10PBDEs) was 0.56 ng/sample, which was lower than those observed previously in mainland China. Source apportionment revealed that nonpoint emissions contributed nearly 78% of Sigma 10PBDEs observed in this study. In contrast, high levels of BDE-209 and DBDPE were observed, with median concentrations of 4.0 and 10.2 ng/sample, respectively. Point sources located in the region around Laizhou Bay, Shandong Province were the major sources, which contributed 31% of BDE-209 and 70% of DBDPE observed in this study, indicating that this manufacturing base was the most important source region for atmospheric deca-BFRs in North China. To our knowledge, this is the first study to report source apportionment of atmospheric BFRs based on gridded field observations.