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Occupational Health Branch

Occupational Health Watch: November 2015

Protecting Workers Who Recycle "e-Waste"

Illustration of an e-waste worker dismantling a computer monitorOur society's increasing appetite for the latest electronic equipment is fueling a growing electronic waste ("e-waste") recycling industry. E-waste is the fastest growing waste stream on the planet.

Workers in e-waste recycling facilities may encounter hazards that can result in injury, hearing loss, or exposure to toxic dusts and other chemicals. According to experts who study the e-waste stream, just one computer can contain hundreds of chemicals, including lead, mercury, cadmium, flame retardants, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Many of these are known to cause cancer, respiratory illness, or reproductive problems.

CDPH's fact sheet—now available in Spanish—describes the hazards that may occur in e-waste recycling facilities and highlights actions companies can take to control hazards, as well as things workers can do to protect themselves.

The fact sheet was developed by the Hazard Evaluation System and Information Service (HESIS), an OHB program that identifies and evaluates new and unappreciated workplace chemical hazards and provides health alerts and practical information for workers and employers.


e-Waste Recycling factsheet

Spanish e-Waste factsheet


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