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IPEN PRESS RELEASE: At UN meeting, Canada and Chile stand alone trying to legitimize e-waste dumping and promote recycling of toxic chemical into children’s products

IPEN Press Release: At the UN meeting, Canada and Chile independently tried to legalize e-waste dumping and promote the recycling of toxic chemicals into children's products

Geneva: Today, at the 8th Conference of the Parties of the Stockholm Convention, Chile and Canada proposed to allow the recycling of materials containing toxic flame retardants that are widely present in e-waste, which surprised delegates. The proposal violates the Stockholm Convention, which explicitly prohibits the recycling and reuse of substances on its list.

Decabromodiphenyl ether is used in the plastic casing of electronic products. If it is not removed, it will be brought into new products when the plastic is recycled. Toxicity studies have shown potential adverse development, neurotoxicity and reproductive effects. Decabromodiphenyl ether or its degradation products may also act as endocrine disruptors.

Ironically, a new IPEN study 1 shows that the toxic recycling policies promoted by these countries widely contaminate children’s products. In fact, in Canada, all sample toys made from recycled plastic contain octabromodiphenyl ether and decabromodiphenyl ether.

"How do these countries advocate policies that may poison children?" said Pam Miller, IPEN co-chair. "Recycling materials containing toxic chemicals will contaminate new products, continue to be exposed, and undermine the credibility of recycling."

The expert committee of the treaty warned against toxic recycling, and clearly recommended that these substances be eliminated from the recycling stream "as soon as possible", stating that "Failure to do so will inevitably lead to wider human and environmental pollution... The long-term reputation of recycling"

The proposed recycling exemption is also tantamount to legalizing the dumping of electronic waste (e-waste) in developing countries, which is ironically described as "recycling."

“E-waste is the fastest-growing waste stream, and it now appears that these countries want to legalize it and dump more waste,” said Tadesse Amera of PAN Ethiopia. "The OECD countries have sent us a lot of e-waste, and now they seem to want to increase our toxic burden-the exact opposite of the treaty's goal."


Bjorn Biller, IPEN

+46 3179 99 474



IPEN is a global network of public interest organizations working in more than 100 countries to reduce and eliminate toxic substances. Twitter: @ToxicsFree

Press release

How do these countries advocate policies that may poison children?

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