Washington: Scientists have revealed that developed countries dump quarter of their electronic waste or ‘e-waste’ into 7 developing countries including China, India and five West African countries; Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Benin and Liberia.

Knut Breivik and colleagues noted that the export from developed to developing regions of e-waste; everything from used TVs and refrigerators to computers and cell phones has caused concern relating major potential health risks for the people who live there.

However, this practice could also help people in resource-poor countries acquire technology or earn income from selling re-usable parts and raw materials from the waste. But on the other hand, environmental regulations and enforcement in developing countries would be often too weak to protect local people and their environment from the waste’s toxins, including lead and mercury, which have been known to make people sick.

The researchers estimated that in 2005, more than 38 million tons of used electronics were discarded worldwide and predicted that it could top 72 million tons by 2017.

The study is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science and Technology.

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