Electrical waste site cause of toxic pollutant biotransfer from mothers to newborns
by World Disease Weekly
24 October 2006 – Toxic pollutants from an electrical waste site in China were transferred from mothers to their newborns.
"Samples of groundwater, river water, river sediment, paddy soil, rice seeds, hen eggs, fish, umbilical cord blood, and newborn meconium were collected from October 2002 to October 2003 near a large site in China used for the disassembly of obsolete transformers and other electronic or electrical waste."
"Six indicator PCB congeners, three nonortho dioxin-like PCB congeners, and six organochlorine pesticides were determined in the samples by GC with electron capture detector," wrote investigators in the People's Republic of China.
According to scientists, "The results demonstrated that the local environment and edible foods had been seriously polluted by toxic PCBs and organochlorine pesticides. The actual daily intakes (ADIs) of these pollutants were estimated for local residents living in the area."
"The intake data showed that the contents of PCBs in these local residents were substantial, as the ADI estimates greatly exceed the reference doses set by the World Health Organization and the United States Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry."
"The presence of the indicator PCB congeners in the cord blood and the meconium samples, as well as significant correlations (r >0.80, p<0.05) between these levels, suggests a potential biotransfer of these indicators from mothers to their newborns," wrote G.F. Zhao and colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Science in Wuhan.
The authors continued, "This preliminary study showed that obsolete transformers and other electronic or electrical waste can be an important source for the emission of persistent organic pollutants into the local environment, such as through leakage, evaporation, runoff, and leaching."
"Contamination from this source appears to have reached the level considered to be a serious threat to environmental and human health around the disassembly site," concluded Zhao.
Zhao and colleagues published their study in Environmental Geochemistry and Health (Biotransfer of persistent organic pollutants from a large site in China used for the disassembly of electronic and electrical waste. Environ Geochem Health, 2006;28(4):341-351).
For additional information, contact Y. Xu, Chinese Academy Science, Institute Hydrobiol, State Key Laboratory Freshwater Ecology & Biotechnology, Wuhan 430072, People's Republic of China.
FAIR USE NOTICE. This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The Basel Action Network is making this article available in our efforts to advance understanding of ecological sustainability and environmental justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.