Recycling contaminates plastic toys with toxic chemicals: IPEN

A new global survey finds that recycling plastics containing toxic flame retardant chemicals found in electronic waste results in contamination of the world's best selling toy along with other children's products.

The contaminants can damage the nervous system and reduce intellectual capacity of Children.

The study was conducted by IPEN, a global civil society network, Arnika, an environmental organisation based in the Czech Republic, and CEJ, Center for Environmental Justice.

The toxic chemicals, OctaBDE, DecaBDE, and HBCD, are used in the plastic casings of electronic products and if they are not removed, they are carried into new products when the plastic is recycled.

The survey of products from 26 countries including Sri Lanka, found that 90 percent of the samples contained OctaBDE or DecaBDE. Nearly half of them contained HBCD,

In Sri Lanka, CEJ purchased five Rubik's cube-like toys and send them for analysis to the Czech Republic.

Two samples were chosen for laboratory tests. The analysis found that both samples contained OctaBDE and DecaBDE at elevated concentrations. These chemicals are persistent and known to harm the reproductive system and disrupt hormone systems adversely impacting intelligence, attention, learning and memory.

The study emerges just a few days before the global conference of the parties to the Stockholm Convention will decide whether to continue allowing the recycling of materials containing OctaBDE and possibly make a new recycling exemption for DecaBDE. The treaty's expert committee has warned against the practice.


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