Exposure to hazardous substances in Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) recycling sites in France

Waste Manag. 2015 May:39:226-35. doi: 10.1016/j.wasman.2015.02.027. Epub 2015 Mar 13.


The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) or e-waste recycling sector has grown considerably in the last fifteen years due to the ever shorter life cycles of consumables and an increasingly restrictive policy context. Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs) from used television and computer screens represent one of the main sources of e-waste. CRTs contain toxic materials such as lead, cadmium, barium, and fluorescent powders which can be released if recycling of CRTs is not appropriate. Exposure to these harmful substances was assessed in nine workshops where CRT screens are treated. Particulate exposure levels were measured using a gravimetric method and metals were analysed by plasma emission spectrometry. The maximum levels of worker exposure were 8.8mg/m(3), 1504.3μg/m(3), 434.9μg/m(3), 576.3μg/m(3) and 2894.3μg/m(3) respectively for inhalable dust, barium, cadmium, lead and yttrium. The maximum levels of airborne pollutants in static samples were 39.0mg/m(3), 848.2μg/m(3), 698.4μg/m(3), 549.3μg/m(3) and 3437.9μg/m(3) for inhalable dust, barium, cadmium, lead and yttrium. The most harmful operations were identified, and preventive measures for reducing the chemical risk associated with screen recycling were proposed. Workplace measurements were used to define recommendations for reducing the chemical risks in CRT screens recycling facilities and for promoting the design and development of "clean and safe" processes in emerging recycling channels.

Keywords: Ambient concentration; Cathode ray tubes; Chemical risk; Exposure assessment; Recycling; WEEE.

MeSH terms

  • Cathode Ray Tube
  • Electronic Waste / analysis*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis*
  • France
  • Hazardous Substances / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Recycling


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Hazardous Substances