Environmental health researchers released alarming evidence today that toxic brominated flame retardants, hazardous chemicals from electronic waste that are known to disrupt thyroid function and cause neurological and attention deficits in children, are contaminating recycled plastics in consumer products across Europe.
The study, an analysis of 109 toys, hair accessories and kitchen utensils showed that 107 items (98%) contained measurable concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and 80 samples (73%) contained hexabromocyclodecane (HBCD).
Laboratory analysis of 4 hair accessories samples from Albania found 3 samples contained octaDBE at concentrations ranging from 2 to 57 ppm and decaBDE at concentrations ranging from 34 to 1048 ppm. Overall, the results indicate that toxic flame retardant chemicals found in e-waste are present on Albanian market in consumer products made of recycled plastic. This includes substances listed in the Stockholm Convention for global elimination (OctaBDE and DecaBDE).
At the end of life of those products, the provisional POPs waste limit would be applied. The waste limit is currently defined by the Stockholm Convention as either 50 ppm or 1000 ppm. If the limit was applied at the protective level of 50 ppm, one product would fall into the POPs waste class because of the Octa-BDE concentration of 57 ppm.
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