Global occurrence, chemical properties, and ecological impacts of e-wastes (IUPAC Technical Report)
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2020

The waste stream of obsolete electronic equipment grows exponentially, creating a worldwide pollution and resource problem. Electrical and electronic waste (e-waste) comprises a heterogeneous mix of glass, plastics (including flame retardants and other additives), metals (including rare Earth elements), and metalloids. The e-waste issue is complex and multi-faceted. In examining the different aspects of e-waste, informal recycling in developing countries has been identified as a primary concern, due to widespread illegal shipments; weak environmental, as well as health and safety, regulations; lack of technology; and inadequate waste treatment structure. For example, Nigeria, Ghana, India, Pakistan, and China have all been identified as hotspots for the disposal of e-waste. This article presents a critical examination on the chemical nature of e-waste and the resulting environmental impacts on, for example, microbial biodiversity, flora, and fauna in e-waste recycling sites around the world. It highlights the different types of risk assessment approaches required when evaluating the ecological impact of e-waste. Additionally, it presents examples of chemistry playing a role in potential solutions. The information presented here will be informative to relevant stakeholders seeking to devise integrated management strategies to tackle this global environmental concern.

environmental impacts


chemical composition


ecological assessment


Diane Purchase

Middlesex University

Golnoush Abbasi

Norsk institutt for luftforskning (NILU)

Lieselot Bisschop

Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam

Debashish Chatterjee

University of Kalyani

Christian Ekberg

Chalmers, Kemi och kemiteknik, Energi och material

Mikhail Ermolin

National University of Science & Technology (MISIS)

Petr Fedotov

Russian Academy of Sciences

Hemda Garelick

Middlesex University

Khadijah Isimekhai

Ateda Ventures Limited

Nadia G. Kandile

Ain Shams University

Mari Lundström


Avtar Matharu

University of York

Bradley W. Miller

Antonio Pineda

Universidad de Córdoba

Oluseun E. Popoola

Yaba College of Technology

Teodora Retegan Vollmer

Chalmers, Kemi och kemiteknik, Energi och material

Heinz Ruedel

Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME

Angela Serpe

Universita degli Studi di Cagliari

Yehuda Sheva

Tahal Consulting Engineers Ltd.

Kiran R. Surati

Sardar Patel University

Fiona Walsh

Maynooth University

Benjamin P. Wilson


Ming Hung Wong

Southern University of Science and Technology

The Education University of Hong Kong

Pure and Applied Chemistry

0033-4545 (ISSN) 13653075 (eISSN)

Vol. 92 11 1733-1767


Annan naturresursteknik





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