In an effort to collect more information about the growing problem of e-waste and its effects on children’s health, the United Nations University (UNU) and the World Health Organization (WHO) partnered to create the first global survey investigating the impacts of e-waste recycling on child health. The results of the survey are now available in a detailed report by Federico Magalini and Ruediger Kuehr of the UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace SCYCLE Operating Unit. One hundred and thirty-nine epidemiologists, toxicologists, child health experts, industry representatives, non-governmental organisations representatives and policy makers responded to the online questionnaire. The survey gauged respondents’ knowledge about various discarded electronic and electrical equipment items and the efficacy of protective devices, and respondents were able to share their own work related to e-waste management and developmental health. Some key findings include:
The survey highlighted the need for global action to tackle health issues related to e-waste management. These efforts, led by WHO, should complement existing activities of other organisations, to use and build on the expertise of complementary disciplines. This will ensure a holistic approach, taking into account the challenges of proper e-waste management in different regions of the world. Furthermore, survey respondents support the approach, as nearly 90 per cent of them indicated interest in joining a WHO network on e-waste exposure and children’s health. The WHO e-waste specific website can be found here.