Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) are made up of a multitude of components, some containing toxic substances that may have an adverse impact on human health and the environment if not handled properly. Often, these hazards arise due to the improper recycling and inappropriate disposal processes.

Potentially toxic chemicals in e-Waste include the following:

Lead: Lead exerts toxic effects on various systems in the body such as the central (organic affective syndrome) and peripheral nervous systems (motor neuropathy), the hemopoietic system (anaemia), the genitourinary system (capable of causing damage to all parts of nephron) and the reproductive systems (both male and female).

Mercury: Mercury causes damage to the genitourinary system (tubular dysfunction), the central and peripheral nervous systems as well as the foetus in expectant mothers. When inorganic mercury spreads out in water, it is transformed into methylated mercury, which bio-accumulates in living organisms and concentrates through the food chain, particularly by fish.

Cadmium: Cadmium is a potentially long-term cumulative poison. Toxic cadmium compounds accumulate in the human body, especially in the kidneys. There is evidence of the role of cadmium and beryllium in carcinogenicity.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH): These affect lung, skin and bladder. Epidemiological studies in the past on occupational exposure to PAH provide sufficient evidence of the role of PAH in the induction of skin and lung cancers.