09/25/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Is Our E-Waste Harming Children?

China has been sending us lead-contaminated toys, but lead contamination from U.S. products may be exacting a far heavier toll on children in China.

Number of recalls of children's products issued in the United States in 2007: 231

Number one reason for children's product recalls: lead contamination

Principal country of origin of U.S. children's products contaminated by lead: China

Percentage of children with elevated levels of lead in the United States: 2.2%

One of the principal exporters of e-waste to China despite Chinese ban: United States

One of the toxic metals contained in e-waste: lead

City where large volumes of e-waste are disposed: Guiyu, China

Percentage of children with elevated levels of lead in Guiyu, China: 82%

Dr. Bill Chameides is the dean of Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment. He blogs regularly at


2007: The Year of the Recall: An Examination of Children's Product Recalls in 2007 and the Implications for Child Safety, Kids in Danger,
February 2008 -

"Blood Lead Levels in Children In the United States," -

"Electronic Waste Recycling - Tools for Legislators and Advocates," Electronics Take-Back Coalition -

Huo, Xia; et al. "Elevated Blood Lead Levels of Children in Guiyu, an Electronic Waste Recycling Town in China," Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 115, Number 7, July 2007 -

Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, "Known and Suspected Routes of E-Waste Dumping" -

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, "Recalls and Product Safety News"