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Impact of technological innovation and regulation development on e-waste toxicity: a case study of waste mobile phones.


ABSTRACT: Technology innovation has accelerated progress in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), especially in the mobile phones sector. Concurrently, local, national, and international governments are enforcing stricter regulations to protect natural resources and human health. The paper attempts to address the question: Have technological innovations and regulation development had a positive impact on ecosystems and public health? We identified 36 waste mobile phones (WMPs) manufactured between 2002 and 2013, assessed their metals concentration, leachability, and potential impact on environment and human health using digestion, Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP), and USEtox model, respectively. The results highlight that regulations did not have significant impact on total metal content, except some heavy metals, while technology innovation recorded stronger impact. WMPs should be classified as hazardous due to excessive lead content. Copper posed the most significant ecotoxicity risk, and chromium showed the most significant risk for both cancerous and non-cancerous diseases. Additionally, we demonstrated that WMPs toxicity increased with technology innovation.

SUBMITTER: Chen Y 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5940856 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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