On November 23, 2018, the non-governmental organizations Arnika  Association, International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN), Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND), and Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) published a new report entitled “Toxic soup: Dioxins in plastic toys.” The NGOs found elevated levels of brominated dioxins in children’s toys made of recycled plastics that originate from electronic waste. Already in October 2018, the NGOs released a related report finding brominated flame retardant in children’s products (including food contact articles) made of recycled plastics (FPF reported).

“Brominated dioxins are highly hazardous chemicals that are known to affect brain development, damage the immune system and unborn children, increase the risk of cancer and risk disruption of thyroid function,” HEAL explained in its press release of the same day. These chemicals “occur as by-products in brominated flame retardants and as a result of incineration of brominated wastes and materials,” HEAL further informed. “That’s why a circular economy has to contribute to health prevention, meaning hazardous substances have to be taken out of the loop and at the same time no derogation on health standards should be allowed for recycled materials,” Genon Jensen, executive director of HEAL, stated.

Commenting on the two reports, the NGO International Chemical Secretariat (ChemSec) added: “Recycling is really great, . . . [b]ut, toxic chemicals have to be weighed into the equation when recycling something, otherwise we will end up with products that contain a bunch of hazardous chemicals.” Further, “[r]ecycled materials need just as strict chemicals legislation as everything else,” ChemSec stressed.

On November 15, 2018, the European Parliament (EP) rejected a proposal to increase the regulatory limit for a group of flame retardants, so called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), in recycled plastics to 1,000 ppm (FPF reported).

Read more

HEAL (November 23, 2018). “Toxic soup: Dioxins in plastic toys.

ChemSec (November 26, 2018). “Recycling is great – but not always.

Caterina Tani (November 29, 2018). “NGOs urge stricter controls on brominated dioxins.Chemical Watch


Petrlik, J., et al. (November 23, 2018). “Toxic soup: Dioxins in plastic toys.Arnika, IPEN, HEAL, Bund (pdf)

Straková, J., et al. (October 2018). “Toxic loophole: Recycling hazardous waste into new products.Arnika, IPEN, HEAL (pdf)