IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Assessment of Occupational Chemical Contaminant Exposure and Health Risk in Québec’s Primary E-Waste Recycling Industry


The management of electronic waste (e-waste) is a major challenge given the amount of waste and the presence of numerous substances that may be toxic for workers and the environment. E-waste includes computers and computer monitors, printers and ink cartridges, tablets, fax machines, televisions, telephones, and CD and DVD readers.
In Québec, the amount of recycled e-waste grew from 1,000 tonnes in 1998 to 16,998 tonnes in 2014, and recycling is expected to increase substantially in the coming years.

International studies have demonstrated workplace presence of certain metals in concentrations that exceed standards, but no scientific studies have yet been conducted in Québec on this topic.

The purpose of this research project is to assess occupational exposure to chemical contaminants, metals and flame retardants, explore health risk level and document occupational health and safety practices in this industry.

The hope is to reduce exposure and associated risk, and the results could be used to identify critical operations and improve procedures and as a guide in developing and implementing preventive and protective measures.

Additional Information

Type: Project
Number: 2015-0083
Status: Completed
Year of completion: 2021