These may later transform into cardiovascular disease, DNA damage and possibly cancer.
Electronic waste is described as end-of-life electrical goods such as computers, televisions, printers, and mobile phones.
The study shows due to the crude recycling process, many pollutants such as persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals are released from e-waste, which can accumulate in the human body through inhaling contaminated air.
To confirm this, researchers took air samples from one of the largest e-waste dismantling areas in China and examined their effects on human lung epithelial cells.
The results showed that the samples of pollutants caused significant increases in both IL-8 and ROS levels indicators of an inflammatory response and oxidative stress respectively.
An increase in the levels of the p53 protein was also observed with the risk of organic-soluble pollutants being much higher than water-soluble pollutants.
"Both inflammatory response and oxidative stress may lead to DNA damage, which could induce oncogenesis, or even cancer. Of course, inflammatory response and oxidative stress are also associated with other diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases," said study co-author Dr Fangxing Yang of Zhejiang University.
"From these results it is clear that the ''open'' dismantlement of e-waste must be forbidden with more primitive techniques improved. As the results show potential adverse effects on human health, workers at these sites must also be given proper protection," he added.
The study appears in IOP Publishing's journal Environmental Research Letters.