Lee Bell ESD, IPEN's Mercury Policy Advisor, and Jindrich Petrlik RNDr., Chair of IPEN's Dioxin, PCBs and Waste Working Group and Director of Arnika's Toxics and Waste Programme, have contributed to a new paper that addresses POPs-contaminated sites and the need for stringent soil standards:
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 report release coincides with a crucial vote in the European Parliament to establish and re-evaluate recycling exemptions for POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants) in waste and with the European Commission’s revision of POPs waste limits. Both decisions will determine whether toxic waste materials, such as e-waste containing brominated flame retardants, will be allowed in recycled plastics.
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. Ironically, the chemical contaminants can damage the nervous system and reduce intellectual capacity but are found in Rubik’s Cubes – a puzzle toy designed to exercise the mind.
At the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions Conferences of the Parties (COP) in April 2017, key decisions will be made that define what is included as POPs waste. The definition will be based on a threshold concentration for a range of specific POPs (e.g. dioxin, PCBs, PFOS, etc.) and any waste containing more than that threshold concentration value will be defined as "POPs waste."’ Such POPs waste will be subject to measures as required under Article 6 of the Stockholm Convention to ensure that it is “Disposed of in such a way that the persistent organic pollutant content is destroyed or irreversibly transformed.”