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International Journal of Environment Science and Technology
Center for Environment and Energy Research and Studies (CEERS)
ISSN: 1735-1472
EISSN: 1735-2630
Vol. 6, No. 4, 2009, pp. 641-650
Bioline Code: st09071
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

International Journal of Environment Science and Technology, Vol. 6, No. 4, 2009, pp. 641-650

 en Heavy metal characterization of waste portable rechargeable batteries used in mobile phones
Nnorom, I. C. & Osibanjo, O.

Abstract

Ten brands of spent portable rechargeable batteries used in mobile phones (lithium-ion and nickel metal hydride) were collected and disassembled and the battery electrode and printed wiring board prepared using the EPA Method 3050B. The metal concentrations were determined by atomic absorption spectrometry. The mean (± standard deviation) concentrations and range of cobalt, chromium, nickel and cadmium in the battery electrodes were 361284±32281mg/kg (range 20870-575330 mg/kg); 25.3 ± 4.6 mg/kg (7.9-149 mg/kg); 75272 ± 14630 mg/kg (3589- 266607 mg/kg) and 2.8 ± 0.6 mg/kg (0.2- 16.3 mg/kg), respectively. Similarly, the mean values of cobalt, chromium, nickel and cadmium in the PWB were 564 ± 165 mg/kg (56.1-4068 mg/kg); 28.1 ± 4.0 mg/kg (ND-97.2 mg/kg); 735 ± 188 mg/kg (22.7-2727 mg/kg) and 1.8 ± 0.3 mg/kg (ND-7.2 mg/kg), respectively. The Li-ion battery electrodes contained significantly higher levels of cobalt (p < 0.01) whereas, the NiMH battery contained significantly higher nickel (P < 0.01). All the results for the cobalt and nickel levels in the battery electrodes exceeded the toxicity threshold limit concentration used in the toxicity characterization of solid wastes (cobalt, 8000 mg/kg; nickel , 2000 mg/kg). In fact, the mean cobalt level of the battery electrode is about 45 times the toxicity threshold limit concentration limit for cobalt while the mean nickel result is about 38 times the toxicity threshold limit concentration. Spent portable rechargeable batteries should be handled as toxic materials that require special treatment. Implementation of a well-coordinated management strategy for spent batteries is urgently required to check the dissipation of large doses of toxic heavy metals and rare earth into the environment.

Keywords
Environmental pollution; Lithium ion; Nickel metal hydride; Toxicity characterization; Waste battery

 
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