Electronic Waste Processing Puts Chinese Children’s Health at Risk

E-waste in China has been getting more attention in the Western media, with a report on last week’s 60 Minutes program. Chemistry World magazine also reports on new findings on elevated levels of lead and miscarriages in Guiyu, the country’s major e-waste processing center:

Speaking at the annual meeting of the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST), Huo Xia, a professor of public health at Guangdong province-based Shantou University, said that, in 2006, there were twice as many children in Guiyu with dangerously high levels of lead (above 100 micrograms per litre) and cadmium (above 20 micrograms per litre) in their blood than in the control group, composed of children from Chendian, a town near the coastal city of Xiamen in Fujian Province [1].

‘The blood lead levels and blood cadmium levels in samples [from 289 newborns and 472 children in Guiyu] accumulated in 2004, 2006 and 2008 are also much higher than the control groups and national average levels,’ Huo said at the meeting, which was held between 17 and 19 September in Zhengzhou, Henan Province.

According to her unpublished figures, the rates of premature births and miscarriages in Guiyu between 2003 and 2007 were much higher than in control groups.

Watch the 60 Minutes report here:


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