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Health hazard evaluation report: a pilot assessment of occupational health hazards in the U.S. electronic scrap recycling industry.

Ceballos D; Gong W; Page E
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, E-scrap Survey Report, 2014 Jun; :1-19
The Health Hazard Evaluation Program established an interagency agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to learn more about work-related health hazards and their control in the electronic-scrap (e-scrap, also called e-waste) recycling industry. This industry contributed approximately $20.6 billion to the U.S. economy in 2012, compared to less than $1 billion in 2002. Additionally, this industry sector employed more than 45,000 full-time employees, up from 6,000 employees in 2002. Currently, 25 states have laws mandating e-scrap recycling. As part of this interagency agreement, we surveyed a randomly selected sample of e-scrap recycling facilities nationwide to characterize work processes, exposures, controls, and health and safety programs. We contacted 278 e-scrap recycling facilities between September 2012 and April 2013. Forty-seven facilities completed the survey; a response rate of 17%. Because of the low response rate, this survey may not represent the U.S. e-scrap recycling industry. Surveyed facilities averaged 58 employees and most facilities had an industry certification. Surveyed facilities reported recycling a wide variety of electronics. The most common recycling processes were manual dismantling and sorting. Other processes included shredding, crushing, and automated separation. Most facilities reported having local exhaust or general ventilation, having a health and safety committee, and providing personal protective equipment for employees. Some facilities reported having environmental/ industrial hygiene monitoring and biomonitoring, using compressed air for cleaning, and allowing food and drinks in the production areas. E-scrap recycling has the potential for a wide variety of occupational exposures (e.g., metals, noise) particularly because of the use of manual processes. On-site evaluations of e-scrap recyclers are needed to determine if reported work processes, practices, and controls are effective and meet current standards and guidelines. Educating the e-scrap recycling industry about good health and safety practices, specifically related to safe handling of metal dust, would help protect employee health.
Waste-disposal; Work-practices; Engineering-controls; Occupational-health-programs; Occupational-safety-programs; Questionnaires; Ventilation-systems; Exhaust-ventilation; Personal-protective-equipment; Noise; Metals; Metal-dusts; Author Keywords: Electronic Scrap; Recycling; e-waste; e-scrap; NIOSH; The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; Health Hazard Evaluation Program
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
E-scrap Survey Report; M062014
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division