A global study of consumer products made from recycled plastic has found "alarming" levels of brominated dioxins and flame retardants in samples taken from emerging countries, as well as Canada, the EU and Japan.
The results were published as the conference of the parties of the Stockholm, Basel and Rotterdam Conventions takes place from 29 April to 10 May to consider proposals to strengthen global policies on POPs and waste.
Dioxins measured in samples of children’s toys and hair accessories were at levels comparable to those found in hazardous wastes, including ash from waste incinerators, the study revealed.
Brominated dioxins are extremely toxic in small amounts and form unintentionally during the production of brominated flame retardants, it said.
Additionally, when plastics with brominated flame retardants are recycled and heated to reform new plastic products, more brominated and chlorinated dioxins are formed, it added.
The study found dioxin and PBDE levels in all of the items sampled, with half of the products exceeding the proposed chlorinated dioxin hazardous waste limit. More than half of the samples measured levels of PBDEs that meet current regulatory proposals of 1,000ppm.