Occupational Exposure among Electronic Repair Workers in Ghana

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Dartey, Emmanuel
Stine Eriksen, Hammer
Stephen, L. Dorn
Balázs, Berlinger
Yngvar, Thomassen
Dag, G. Ellingsen
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Public Health 2022
Electronic repair workers may be exposed to lead, mercury, cadmium and other elements including rare earth elements used in electronic equipment. In this study, repair work took place in small repair shops where, e.g., televisions, radios, video players, compact discs and computers were repaired. Personal full-shift air samples of particulate matter were collected among 64 electronic repair workers in Kumasi (Ghana) and analysed for 29 elements by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Results showed that air concentrations of all elements were low. The highest air concentration was measured for iron with a geometric mean concentration and geometric standard deviation of 6.3 ± 0.001 µg/m3 . The corresponding concentration of Pb and Hg were 157 ± 3 ng/m3 and 0.2 ± 2.7 ng/m3 , respectively. The cerium concentration of 5 ± 2 ng/m3 was the highest among the rare earth elements. Source apportionment with ranked principal component analysis indicated that 63% of the variance could be explained by the repair and soldering of electronic components such as batteries, magnets, displays and printed circuit boards. An association between concentrations of lead in the workroom air and lead in whole blood was found (Pearson’s correlation coefficient r = 0.42, p < 0.001). There was, however, no statistically significant difference between whole blood lead concentrations in the workers and references indicating that lead did not exclusively originate from occupational exposure.
Eriksen Hammer, S., Dorn, S. L., Dartey, E., Berlinger, B., Thomassen, Y., & Ellingsen, D. G. (2022). Occupational Exposure among Electronic Repair Workers in Ghana. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(14), 8477.