harmful effects of e waste

How is eWaste harmful to human health?

Did you know that the sleek electronic device in your hand or on your desk could be a ticking time bomb for your health and that the digital world we live in is contributing to a looming health crisis? As we embrace new technology and upgrade our electronic devices, the discarded ones are piling up, posing serious risks to human health.

In a world where our dependence on technology is increasing at an exponential rate, it’s easy to forget about the impact that our electronic devices have on both the environment and our own health. In this blog, we will explore why eWaste is harmful and its negative effect on human health.

Why is eWaste Harmful?

As our world becomes more and more digital, electronic waste (eWaste) has become an increasingly significant problem. eWaste refers to any electronic device that is discarded or no longer functional, such as computers, televisions, and cell phones. Unfortunately, it’s not just a matter of environmental concern; it can also have serious harmful effects on human health.

E-waste contains a variety of toxic materials that can pose serious health risks to humans. These include lead, cadmium, mercury, and brominated flame retardants. When these materials are released into the environment, they can contaminate the soil, water, and air. This can lead to a variety of harmful effects on human health, including respiratory problems, neurological disorders, and cancer.

Effects of eWaste on Human Health

E-waste isn’t just a matter of environmental concern; it can also have serious harmful effects on human health. Here are some of the most significant effects of eWaste on human health:

Exposure to toxic chemicals:

Many electronic devices contain hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, and cadmium. One of the most significant harmful effects of eWaste is the release of lead into the environment. Lead is commonly found in the circuit boards of electronic devices, and when these devices are discarded, the lead can leach into the soil and water.


Another harmful material found in eWaste is cadmium. This toxic metal is commonly found in batteries, and exposure to cadmium can lead to lung damage, kidney disease, and cancer. Exposure to certain chemicals found in eWaste, such as dioxins, can increase the risk of cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified dioxins as a known human carcinogen.

Reproductive problems:

Brominated flame retardants are another class of toxic chemicals commonly found in eWaste. These chemicals are used to reduce the risk of fire in electronic devices, but they can also be harmful to human health. Exposure to brominated flame retardants has been linked to thyroid disorders, reproductive problems, and developmental delays.

Neurological problems:

Exposure to lead can cause serious neurological damage, particularly in children, and can lead to developmental delays, learning disabilities, and behavioral problems. As well mercury, which is found in older-style televisions and fluorescent light bulbs, can cause neurological damage, especially in foetuses and young children.
Causes of eWaste production

To summarise the above effects, here are ten specific examples of how eWaste is harmful to human health:

  • Exposure to lead, mercury, and cadmium found in eWaste can lead to neurological damage, kidney damage, and brain damage, respectively.
  • Toxic fumes released from burning eWaste can cause respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis.
    The blue light emitted by electronic devices can interfere with the body’s natural sleep cycle, leading to insomnia and other sleep disorders.
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals such as lead and cadmium found in eWaste can lead to infertility and other reproductive problems.
  • Exposure to certain chemicals found in eWaste, such as dioxins, can increase the risk of cancer.
  • Improper disposal of eWaste can contaminate the soil and water, contaminating the food chain and posing a significant risk to human health.
  • eWaste recycling and disposal practices can release harmful gases such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that contribute to ozone depletion and global warming.
  • Children living near informal eWaste recycling practices are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of eWaste due to their developing immune systems and greater exposure.
  • Exposure to the heavy metals found in eWaste can cause damage to the central nervous system and cognitive function
  • The plastic found in electronic devices can release toxic chemicals when burned, leading to serious health problems.


These are just a few of the many ways in which eWaste can harm human health. It’s crucial that we take steps to properly manage and dispose of eWaste to minimise its harmful effects.

Ending Note

In addition to these effects of electronic waste on health, eWaste can also have negative environmental impacts which eventually affect humans and animals in many different ways. When it’s not disposed of properly, it can end up in landfills, where it can take years to break down.

During this time, the toxic materials in the eWaste can leach into the surrounding environment, contaminating the soil, water, and air. To mitigate the harmful effects of electronic waste, it is crucial to dispose of electronic devices responsibly.

And if you are looking to dispose of electronic devices responsibly and sustainably Namo eWaste is your go-to solution for all your electronic waste needs! Our specialised services include secure data destruction, eWaste recycling, and eco-friendly disposal options.

Trust us to dispose of your devices safely, protecting both people and the planet. Make the smart choice and choose Namo eWaste for a sustainable future!