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What is E-waste and its Types

What is E-waste and its Types


  • Electronic waste (e-waste) is generated due to the usage and discard of electronic components.
  • India has emerged as the world’s second largest in the mobile market and also the fifth largest producer of e-waste, discarding roughly 18.5 lakh tonnes of e-waste in 2015.
  • E-waste is highly toxic and has harmful impact on various living organisms. Moreover, e-waste is not at all biodegradable.
  • The best strategy to reduce e-waste is to recycle and reuse the electronic components.

Types of e-Waste


  • Lead (Pb) is used in making computer monitors, gaskets in electronic components, etc.
  • Health consequences of lead include:
  1. Damage to nervous system, particularly, it impedes brain development in children.
  2. Harmful impact on kidneys because lead can bioaccumulate and biomagnify.            What is E-waste and its Types


  • Cadmium (Cd) is used for making infrared detectors, semiconductor chips, etc. Cadmium also has harmful effect on the kidneys.


  • Mercury (Hg) is used in sensors, thermostats, flat panel displays, etc. Mercury is particularly dangerous to foetus as it impedes brain development.
  • It also has harmful effect on the kidneys.


  • Chromium (Cr) is used for coating steel pipes, used in plastics including polyvinyl chloride (PVC), etc.
  • PVC is an inexpensive synthetic plastic widely used in the manufacturing of electronic products. Chromium can cause damage to DNA.


  • Barium (Ba) is used in the front panel of computers to protect users from radiation.
  • Over exposure to barium can cause brain swelling and muscle weakness.                What is E-waste and its Types


  • Beryllium (Be)—copper alloy is used to strengthen connectors and tiny plugs while maintaining electrical conductivity.
  • Over exposure to beryllium may have the following consequences:
  1. Lung cancer
  2. Hampers healing of wounds
  3. Wart-like bumps.

Brominated Flame Retardants

  • Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are carbon-bromine compounds used in the plastic covering of electronic equipments and in circuit boards to prevent flammability.
  • The BFRs are toxic in nature and they have the tendency to bioaccumulate.                          What is E-waste and its Types


Environment & Biodiversity

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