Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Health Assessment of Electronic Waste Workers in Chile: Study Design and Participant Characterization

Version 1 : Received: 16 November 2018 / Approved: 19 November 2018 / Online: 19 November 2018 (10:23:06 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Yohannessen, K.; Pinto-Galleguillos, D.; Parra-Giordano, D.; Agost, A.; Valdés, M.; Smith, L.M.; Galen, K.; Arain, A.; Rojas, F.; Neitzel, R.L.; Ruiz-Rudolph, P. Health Assessment of Electronic Waste Workers in Chile: Participant Characterization. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 386. Yohannessen, K.; Pinto-Galleguillos, D.; Parra-Giordano, D.; Agost, A.; Valdés, M.; Smith, L.M.; Galen, K.; Arain, A.; Rojas, F.; Neitzel, R.L.; Ruiz-Rudolph, P. Health Assessment of Electronic Waste Workers in Chile: Participant Characterization. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 386.

Journal reference: Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 386
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph16030386

Abstract

Little research has been done on occupational health ramifications of informal electronic waste (e-waste) recycling work, which is increasingly common in low- and middle-income countries, and very little is known about this in high-income countries. Our study evaluated informal and formal e-waste recycling workers in Chile, which was recently recognized as a high-income country. In 2017 we recruited 78 informal recycling workers from two cities, and 15 formal e-waste recycling workers from one recycling facility. Participants completed a questionnaire and health assessment regarding their involvement in, and potential impacts of, e-waste recycling, among other measures. Participants were primarily male, middle-aged, married with children, and had worked in e-waste recycling for an average of 12 years. Participants generally reported good health status, and chronic disease prevalence was similar to the national prevalence. Workers commonly reported exposures to several occupational stressors, including mental health stressors and noise, as well as insufficient income.   Occupational injuries were common and use of safety equipment was low. No significant differences were found between informal and formal workers. Informal e-waste workers in Chile face occupational health challenges. The extent to which these issues impact the health of informal Chilean e-waste workers is unclear and warrants further research.

Subject Areas

electronic waste recycling; occupational health; public health; injuries; stress

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