Back
 JEP  Vol.7 No.3 , February 2016
Toys, Décor, and More: Evidence of Hazardous Electronic Waste Recycled into New Consumer Products
Abstract:

Hazardous chemicals used in electronic and electrical consumer products can re-enter commerce when these products are recycled. The objectives of this study were to 1) identify the possible sources of unexpected chemicals and elements in consumer products, including the use of recycled E-waste plastics and 2) demonstrate bromine detection with nondestructive spectroscopy as an indicator of brominated flame retardants contaminating new products via recycled waste streams. More than 1500 consumer products of diverse types purchased in 2012-2014 were examined using X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy for correlations between bromine and other elements. New electronic products were much more likely than new non-electronics to contain greater than 1000 ppm bromine, consistent with intentionally added flame retardants, while non- electronic products were more likely to contain between 5 and 100 ppm bromine, suggesting unintentional contamination. A typical suite of elements present in E-waste was found in a majority of plastic products. Two product categories, vinyl floor tiles and beaded necklaces/garlands, were explored in more detail. Specific flame retardant chemicals in bead samples were identified by mass spectrometry and their distribution in beads was studied using scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy. Five brominated chemicals typically used as flame retardants, including BDE-209, were identified in 50 of 50 Mardi Gras beads analyzed.

Cite this paper: Miller, G. , Tighe, M. , Peaslee, G. , Peña, K. and Gearhart, J. (2016) Toys, Décor, and More: Evidence of Hazardous Electronic Waste Recycled into New Consumer Products. Journal of Environmental Protection, 7, 341-350. doi: 10.4236/jep.2016.73030.
References

[1]   Robinson, B.H. (2009) E-Waste: An Assessment of Global Production and Environmental Impacts. Science of the Total Environment, 408, 183-191. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2009.09.044

[2]   Puype, F., Samsonek, J., Knoop, J., Egelkraut-Holtus, M. and Ortlieb, M. (2015) Evidence of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Relevant Substances in Polymeric Food-Contact Articles Sold on the European Market. Food Additives and Contaminants Part A, 32, 410-426. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19440049.2015.1009499

[3]   Leslie, H., Leonards, P., Brandsma, S., van Hattum, A., Janssen, M. and Jonkers, N. (2014) Tracing POP-BDE Routes through Plastic Waste Streams in the Netherlands. Organohalogen, 899.

[4]   Samsonek, J. and Puype, F. (2013) Occurrence of Brominated Flame Retardants in Black Thermo Cups and Selected Kitchen Utensils Purchased on the European Market. Food Additives and Contaminants Part A, 30, 1976-1986.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19440049.2013.829246

[5]   Chen, S.J., Ma, Y.J., Wang, J., Chen, D., Luo, X.J. and Mai, B.X. (2009) Brominated Flame Retardants in Children’s Toys: Concentration, Composition, and Children’s Exposure and Risk Assessment. Environmental Science and Technology, 43, 4200-4206. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es9004834

[6]   Ionas, A.C., Dirtu, A.C., Anthonissen, T., Neels, H. and Covaci, A. (2014) Downsides of the Recycling Process: Harm- ful Organic Chemicals in Children’s Toys. Environment International, 65, 54-62.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2013.12.019

[7]   Stapleton, H.M., Klosterhaus, S., Keller, A., Ferguson, P.L., Van Bergen, S., Cooper, E., Webster, T.F. and Blum, A. (2011) Identification of Flame Retardants in Polyurethane Foam Collected from Baby Products. Environmental Science and Technology, 45, 5323-5331. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es2007462

[8]   Allen, J.G., McClean, M.D., Stapleton, H.M. and Webster, T.F. (2008) Linking PBDEs in House Dust to Consumer Products Using X-Ray Fluorescence. Environmental Science and Technology, 42, 4222-4228.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es702964a

[9]   Gallen, C., Banks, A., Brandsma, S., Baduel, C., Thai, P., Eaglesham, G., Heffernan, A., Leonards, P., Bainton, P. and Mueller, J.F. (2014) Towards Development of a Rapid and Effective Nondestructive Testing Strategy to Identify Brominated Flame Retardants in the Plastics of Consumer Products. Science of the Total Environment, 491-492, 255-265.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.01.074

[10]   Miller, G.Z. and Gearhart, J. (2015) Hidden Passengers: Chemical Hazards in Children’s Car Seats.
http://www.ecocenter.org/healthy-stuff/reports/childrens-car-seat-study

[11]   Stapleton, H.M., Misenheimer, J., Hoffman, K. and Webster, T.F. (2014) Flame Retardant Associations between Children’s Handwipes and House Dust. Chemosphere, 116, 54-60.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2013.12.100

[12]   Howe, P., Dobson, S. and Malcolm, H. (2005) 2,4,6-Tribromophenol and Other Simple Brominated Phenols. World Health Organization Concise International Chemical Assessment Document, 66.

[13]   European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (2012) Scientific Opinion on Emerging and Novel Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs) in Food. EFSA Journal, 10, 125.

[14]   Egeb?ck, A.-L., Sellstr?m, U. and McLachlan, M.S. (2012) Decabromodiphenyl Ethane and Decabromodiphenyl Ether in Swedish Background Air. Chemosphere, 86, 264-269. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2011.09.041

 
 
Top