Global occurrence, chemical properties, and ecological impacts of e-wastes (IUPAC technical report)

Diane PURCHASE, Golnoush ABBASI, Lieselot BISSCHOP, Debashish CHATTERJEE, Christian EKBERG, Mikhail ERMOLIN, Petr FEDOTOV, Hemda GARELICK, Khadijah ISIMEKHAI, Nadia G. KANDILE, Mari LUNDSTRÖM, Avtar MATHARU, Bradley W. MILLER, Antonio PINEDA, Oluseun E. POPOOLA, Teodora RETEGAN, Heinz RUEDEL, Angela SERPE, Yehuda SHEVA, Kiran R. SURATIFiona WALSH, Benjamin P. WILSON, Ming Hung WONG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


The waste stream of obsolete electronic equipment grows exponentially, creating a worldwide pollution and resource problem. Electrical and electronic waste (e-waste) comprises a heterogeneous mix of glass, plastics (including flame retardants and other additives), metals (including rare Earth elements), and metalloids. The e-waste issue is complex and multi-faceted. In examining the different aspects of e-waste, informal recycling in developing countries has been identified as a primary concern, due to widespread illegal shipments; weak environmental, as well as health and safety, regulations; lack of technology; and inadequate waste treatment structure. For example, Nigeria, Ghana, India, Pakistan, and China have all been identified as hotspots for the disposal of e-waste. This article presents a critical examination on the chemical nature of e-waste and the resulting environmental impacts on, for example, microbial biodiversity, flora, and fauna in e-waste recycling sites around the world. It highlights the different types of risk assessment approaches required when evaluating the ecological impact of e-waste. Additionally, it presents examples of chemistry playing a role in potential solutions. The information presented here will be informative to relevant stakeholders seeking to devise integrated management strategies to tackle this global environmental concern. Copyright © 2020 IUPAC & De Gruyter.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1733-1767
JournalPure and Applied Chemistry
Issue number11
Early online dateAug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


Purchase, D., Abbasi, G., Bisschop, L., Chatterjee, D., Ekberg, C., Ermolin, M., . . . Wong, M. H. (2020). Global occurrence, chemical properties, and ecological impacts of e-wastes (IUPAC technical report). Pure and Applied Chemistry, 92(11), 1733-1767. doi: 10.1515/pac-2019-0502


  • Chemical composition
  • Ecological assessment
  • Environmental impacts
  • E-waste
  • Recycling


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