The market is one of the fastest growing in consumer electronics with over 60 million game consoles sold last year, a 14% growth.
The Directive on the restriction of hazardous substances (RoHS) in electronics bans the use of mercury, cadmium, lead, hexavalent chromium and certain brominated flame retardants in such products, with limited exemptions
However, Greenpeace continues to campaign to force firms to phase out other hazardous substances such as PVC, phthalates, other brominated compounds and beryllium.
Greenpeace tested three of the most popular games consoles- Nintendo’s Wii, Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Elite.
All the samples complied with the heavy metal restrictions laid down by RoHS, but levels of bromine were found that the group could not rule out coming from brominated flame retardants banned by the Directive.
For almost all types of material found to contain either bromine, PVC, phthalates or beryllium, examples of equivalent materials that were free of such chemicals and used for similar purposes were identified in some of the consoles tested.
This demonstrates that viable alternatives are already used.