29 January 2013

Nigeria: Electronic Waste Can Destroy Human Cells, Environment - Neurologist Warns

Photo: Natalie Behring/Greenpeace
Electronic waste.

Lagos — Tunde Adetunji, a Consultant Neurologist at Bingham University College of Health Science, Karu, Nasarawa State, said on Tuesday that electro-magnetic transmission from electronic waste could destroy human body cells.

Adetunji told the New Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that it was important for the public to manage and control electronic waste properly as not doing so could be harmful to the environment.

Electronic waste includes discarded computers, office electronic equipment, entertainment devices, mobile phones, television sets, and refrigerators.

"It becomes a health hazard when it is not properly managed. A lot of this electronic component contain transitional element that undergo low level of decay. And, in the process of this decay, some hazardous emissions in form of electro-magnetic emissions are released.

"Now this electro-magnetic emission can be harmful when it accumulates in the body. It could damage the tissue, it can damage some cells and a lot of other things can manifest as a result of that.

"You may have damage to the blood cells in the body; you may have damage to the cells that align the intestine; the person can have diarrhea and vomiting; you may have hair loss due to damage to skin hair, and so on."

"Management of electronic waste is a complex one that requires the know-how to control these materials so that they do not constitute hazard to the environment.

"When these materials are dumped at a site, these toxic chemicals are released into the soil and they find their ways into the natural system in the locality.

"It may sip into drinking water; some of the plants in the environment may absorb it and animals may consume this plant, and human beings may eat these animals that consume the plant or eat the plant directly.

"These toxic chemicals gain access to man and any of this harmful effect can then happen to man, and it has to be handled properly.

"The ones that need to be incinerated should be incinerated; the ones that needs to be recycled should be extracted and recycled in order to minimise the health hazards that are posed by these materials."


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