IJERPH, Vol. 18, Pages 12428: Human Body Burden of Heavy Metals and Health Consequences of Pb Exposure in Guiyu, an E-Waste Recycling Town in China (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Guiyu accommodates millions of tons of e-waste from overseas and domestic sources each year and is notorious for its e-waste dismantling industry. As a consequence, Guiyu has been described as “the world’s most toxic place” and “junk town”. Informal e-waste recycling activities have caused severe pollution to the local environment and are associated with extensive health problems to the residents. This review provides updated insights on the body burden of heavy metals derived from e-waste and health outcomes resulted from lead (Pb) exposure. The review identified that Guiyu has been highly contaminated by heavy metals, especially Pb. Excessive exposure to Pb has been associated with multi-system and long-term effects in neonates and children, covering nervous, cardiovascular, adaptive immune, and hematologic systems as well as chromosome and DNA damage. Our review indicates strong associations that emphasize the need to develop strong regulations for prevention of exposure and health consequences in Guiyu and similar sites around the world.