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PM10 and Elemental Concentrations in a Dismantling Plant for Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment in Greece

Category: Air Pollution and Health Effects

Volume: 18 | Issue: 6 | Pages: 1457-1469
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2017.12.0557

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Katerina Papaoikonomou 1, Christina Emmanouil1, Vasiliki Vasilato2, Evangelia Diapouli2, Theodoros Grigoratos3, Antigoni Zafirakou4, Athanasios Kungolos4

  • 1 Department of Planning and Regional Development, University of Thessaly, Pedion Areos, 38334 Volos, Greece
  • 2 Institute of Nuclear & Radiological Sciences & Technology, Energy & Safety, N.C.S.R. “Demokritos”, 15341 Athens , Greece
  • 3 Department of Chemistry, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
  • 4 School of Civil Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece


PM10 and some elements in PM10 were measured in a WEEE recycling factory in Greece.
8 h PM10 were lower than international standards but increased during working hours.
Some elements were enriched in PM10 indicating sources other than dust resuspension.
PCA for some elements enabled distinction between CRTs and other WEEE.
Risk assessment for some metals of toxicological concern shows non-acceptable risk.


Processing Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) causes serious environmental problems, especially when WEEE is processed in uncontrolled conditions. WEEE recycling under controlled conditions consists of the following major steps: disassembly, upgrading and refinement. Disassembly is usually done manually, and, at this stage, certain components (cases, external cables, cathode ray tubes [CRTs], printed circuit boards [PCBs], batteries etc.) are separated. This activity releases coarse and fine particles, which may also contain additional noxious substances, into the atmosphere. The current study determines the concentration of indoor PM10 in a Greek plant for the dismantling and temporary storage of WEEE, based on a short-term sampling campaign. Elemental concentrations in the PM10 have also been determined. Results show that the indoor PM10 concentration in the disassembly area did not exceed the time-weighted average (TWA) for total particles set by Greek legislation or the 8-h TWA for total particles set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Nevertheless, these concentrations were higher than those measured in the ambient air of Greek cities. Regarding the measured elements, Zn, As, Br, Pb and Cd were quite enriched in PM10, indicating significant indoor sources. Factor analysis of elements of possible anthropogenic origin showed a clear distinction between cathode ray tubes (CRT) and other possible sources. Finally, the risk assessment for metals of toxicological concern showed a non-negligible lifetime risk for 8-h workers. This is the first report of WEEE indoor air pollution in Greece and its associated origins and effects.


ndoor air pollution PM10 WEEE recycling Elemental composition Disassembly

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