Maternal exposure to e-waste in Guiyu, China and birth outcomes
In many LMICs, handling e-waste is frequently unregulated. There is increasing concern about health effects related to environmental contamination for people working and living at or near informal e-waste processing sites such as Guiyu, China, especially to the most vulnerable populations, pregnant women and children. Efforts have been underway to move toward a more sustainable process in Guiyu, China. By the end of 2015, all unregulated electronic-waste workshops were moved to a newly built industrial park in Guiyu. Thus, timely evaluation of the human health impact of these movements is needed. We hypothesize that the e-waste exposure level among the pregnant women in this region is going down and birth-outcomes are improved comparing to previous observations. To test our hypothesis, our overall scientific objective is to evaluate maternal e-waste exposure and birth-outcomes. Based on identified knowledge gaps and the significance of filling these gaps, we will: Aim 1: Initiate a Guiyu birth cohort to evaluate the e-waste exposure among pregnant women and birth-outcomes. Aim 2: Initiate a local education program to improve the awareness of the adverse health effects of e-waste exposure and prevention strategies among women. The research environment and resources at both Duke and China are available to support this study. Through this international cooperation, awareness can be elevated about the harm that e-waste processing poses to human health and the effects of interventions. This pilot funding will assist us to build up a long-term collaboration with China and pave a way for external funding on this topic.