Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Jan 29;16(3):386. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16030386.
Little research has been done to evaluate the occupational health of electronic waste (e-waste) recycling workers in Latin America. The objective of this study was to complete comprehensive health evaluations on e-waste recycling workers in Chile and to compare those that work in informal (i.e., independent) to those that work in formal (i.e., established company) settings. A cross-sectional study in the summer of 2017 recruited 78 informal recycling workers from two cities and 15 formal e-waste recycling workers from a single recycling facility to assess exposures and health outcomes. Participants completed a health questionnaire and underwent a full health assessment. Herein, only health questionnaire data are reported. Participants were primarily male, middle-aged, married with children, and had worked in e-waste recycling for an average of 12 years. Participants generally reported good health status, and their prevalence of chronic diseases was comparable to national rates. Workers frequently reported exposures to several occupational stressors, including noise and insufficient income, as well as other mental health stressors. Occupational injuries were commonly reported and use of safety equipment was low. Only a few significant differences, generally of a rather small magnitude, were found between informal and formal workers. In conclusion, from survey data, we did not identify major risks to health among e-waste workers, and only minor differences between workers in informal and formal settings.