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Risk Assessment of e-Waste Burning in Delhi, India

TitleRisk Assessment of e-Waste Burning in Delhi, India
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsSteiner S
UniversitySwiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Materials Science and Technology Research Institute (Empa)
CityZurich & St.Gallen/ Switzerland
Thesis TypeMaster Thesis
AbstractThe aim of this diploma thesis was to evaluate the health impact of the recovery of copper by burning ewastein Delhi. Further a database for the management of recycling processes in India should bedeveloped.By holding interviews in Delhi data about the open burning of electronic waste was collected. For emissionvalues of the incineration of e-waste, literature was reviewed. Based on these two information sources adatabase for the management of e-waste recycling processes in India was designed.The substance group “Polychlorinated dibenzo-dioxins/furans (PCDD/Fs)” was used to describe the healthimpacts of burning cables and printed wiring boards (PWBs). The fate and transport of the PCDD/Fs wassimulated with the 8-compartment box model “ELPOS” and with the Gaussian model “SCREEN3”. For theassessment of the environmental concentrations in the whole area of interest ELPOS was used. WithSCREEN3 the air concentrations in the vicinity of the burning sites was estimated.Based on the environmental concentrations of the ELPOS-modeling, the daily intake of PCDD/Fs throughthe inhalation of air, the consumption of vegetables and cereals, the dermal absorption of soil and theingestion of soil was calculated.From the predicted air concentration of the Gaussian model the inhalation of chlorinated dioxins andfurans in the vicinity of the burning sites was calculated.A comparison of the predicted daily intake with the tolerable daily intake (TDI, recommend by the WHO(1998)) was used to evaluate the risk of the e-waste burning.The burning of cables and PWBs takes place in the northern part of Delhi in an area of approximately 27square kilometers. As an estimate 0.13 % of the families in the area of interest live on the recovery ofcopper by burning electronic waste.The calculation of the PCDD/F- emissions resulted in 21 mg-TEQ released daily into the area of interest dueto the burning of cables and PWBs. Concerning the PCDD/F emissions the incineration of cables wasestimated to be more relevant than the one of printed wiring boards, since the emission coefficient ofcables is approximately 430 times higher.The modeling with ELPOS suggested that the environmental load in all compartments is below a toxicconcentration for humans. It was estimated that 11 times more material could be burned to reachconcentrations with a risk for humans.The Gaussian model showed high air concentrations within the first hundred meters downwards from theburning sites. Due to the low, but chronic exposure within a distance of 100 m from all emission sourcesan increased risk to fall ill from cancer was predicted.It was proposed that the calculation of the PCDD/F - concentrations in the area of interest could beimproved by the use of an advanced dispersion model. Further, the results should be validated with air andsoil samples of the area of interest.
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