Campaigners are urging the EU to end recycling exemptions for hazardous waste following tests that found brominated flame retardants in plastic consumer products across Europe.
Brominated flame retardants are hazardous chemicals from electronic waste that are known to disrupt thyroid function and cause neurological and attention deficits in children.
The study, by the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), and environmental health network IPEN and Czech campaign group the Arnika Association, investigated plastic children’s toys, hair accessories and kitchen utensils bought in 19 countries, including Spain, Denmark, France and Germany. It found that 25 per cent of products had elevated levels of bromine. Further analysis revealed that 46% would fail to meet the EU Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) regulation if the product was composed of new plastic rather than recycled plastic.