New studies highlight risks of flame retardants
According to a recent Harvard study, e-scrap workers still have rests of toxic flame retardants on their hands even after wiping them multiple times. The study, conducted at an unnamed e-scrap facility in the US, recommends a stronger focus on refurbishing.
According to one of the Harvard scientists involved in the project, Diana Ceballos, the findings provide “good motivation for firms to reduce shredding as much as possible”. Ceballos recommends a stronger “focus on the great refurbishing efforts happening nationwide”, including all efforts to “minimize shredding of plastics and other materials that are known to contain flame retardants.”
After shredding, the toxic e-waste plastics are recycled into other products. This means the risk of consumers being exposed to them again. And this is very much a reality, according to a recent study conducted at the the university in Plymouth, UK. Associate professor Dr. Andrew Turner says the study clearly indicates that recycled plastic from e-waste introduces harmful chemicals into household products. One of the reasons is that the strict regulations for recycling of e-waste are often not respected - e-waste is labelled as ‘repairable’ or ‘reusable’ instead of ‘hazardous waste’. This means scrapping of electronic products needs to develop. It also means that all opportunities to repair, reuse and remanufacture constitutes a more environmental alternative.