Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) to refer to NGO chemicals list
SCCPs and brominated FRs in toys
Dechlorane Plus proposed for REACH restriction
Organophosphorus FRs show long-range atmospheric transport
French newspaper attacks bromine and flame retardants
PBDEs accused of link to thyroid cancer
Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) to refer to NGO chemicals list: environmental NGO ChemSec has announced that DJSI will now require companies to specify what % of their product portfolio contains substances identified as ‘hazardous’ or referenced on the NGO’s “Sin List”. This list includes a number of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants as well as TPP (triphenyl phosphate).“Why the stock market’s increased attention on toxic chemicals is a big thing”, ChemSec 30 March 2017 http://chemsec.org/why-the-stock-markets-increased-attention-on-toxic-chemicals-is-a-big-thing/
SCCPs and brominated FRs in toys: three US environmental NGOs analysed 60 children’s toys purchased in ten countries worldwide, finding SCCPs (short chain chlorinated paraffins) detectable in nearly half the toys (at concentrations 8 – 20 000 ppm). Six products exceeded EU limits for SCCPs. The NGOs point out that SCCPs have been recommended by the Stockholm Convention expert committee for a world-wide ban (note: and have now been banned under the convention, see above). In a second study published in parallel, 111 toys from across the world were analysed for PBDEs and HBCD, finding these detectable in 90% of the toys, including OctaBDE and HBCD (which are listed in Annex A of the Stockholm Convention) at levels > 50 ppm in nearly 40% and >100 ppm in 7% respectively. The NGOs sugget that the presence of these FRs can result from inappropriate disposal of wastes containing “legacy” FRs.“Toxic industrial chemical recommended for global prohibition contaminates children’s toys”, IPEN, ACAT, ARNIKA, 19 April 2017 http://ipen.org/news/press-release-children’s-toys-contaminated-toxic-industrial-chemical-recommended-global and “POPs recycling contaminates children’s toys with toxic flame retardants” IPEN, ACAT, ARNIKA, 18 April 2017 http://ipen.org/news/press-release-recycling-contaminates-plastic-children’s-toys-toxic-chemicals-electronic-waste
Dechlorane Plus proposed for REACH restriction. The UK and ECHA (European Chemical Agency) have proposed that the chlorinated flame retardant Dechlorane Plus be considered for designation as SVHC (Substance of Very High Concern) under REACH, suggesting that it is vPvB (very persistent and very bioaccumulative).
ECHA “Current SVHC intentions” https://echa.europa.eu/registry-of-current-svhc-intentions
Organophosphorus FRs show long-range atmospheric transport: Samples of ocean sediments in the Arctic were assessed for seven organophosphate ester flame retardants, showing presence of some at levels comparable to levels of brominated FRs. The P-FRs were also detected in arctic air. The halogenated P-FRs show generally higher concentrations, and longer range transport. All of these phosphorus FRs are broken down within a few days in sunlight. The authors suggest that their long-range transport may result from absorption to particles in air which protect them from sunlight and enable long range transport despite their not being POPs as defined by the Stockholm convention.P-FRs tested: three halogenated OPEs [tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP), tris(1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TCPP), and tris(dichloroisopropyl) phosphate], three alkylated OPEs [triisobutyl phosphate (TiBP), tri-n-butyl phosphate, and tripentyl phosphate], and triphenyl phosphate. “Organophosphate Ester Flame Retardants and Plasticizers in Ocean Sediments from the North Pacific to the Arctic Ocean”, Y. Ma et al., Environ. Sci. Technol. 2017, 51, 3809−3815 http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.7b00755
French newspaper attacks bromine and flame retardants: In a first article, Le Monde suggests that “all plastics are poisoned by bromine”. This points to a recent French INERIS report on the difficulties faced by the waste management sector to implement the 2005 WEEE Directive, and which proposes classification of sorted E&E waste depending on levels of bromine: >2000mg/kg POP (requiring destruction) or >1000 mg/kg possible future restriction on recycling. In a second articles brominated FRs are accused of many woes (including thyroid cancer in cats) on the base of little evidence, and claims that flame retardants in furniture and textiles “have had no measurable effects” which is questionable given the absence of domestic furniture fire safety requirements in France.“Tri et classement des plastiques des déchets d’équipements électriques et électroniques” INERIS 16/3/2017 http://www.ineris.fr/centredoc/rapport-ineris-drc-17-164547-01461b-tri-classement-deee-vf2-1490008027.pdf Le Monde “Les déchets électroniques empoisonnés au brome” 10/4/2017 and “Une brève histoire du brome” 18/4/201717.
PBDEs accused of link to thyroid cancer: Heather Stapleton et al., Duke University USA, are reported in media as suggesting a link between exposure to the halogenated flame retardants PBDEs and TCEP and a 7% per year increase in papillary thyroid cancer in the USA over the last two decades. The study is based on only 140 patients (with and without cancer) and home dust sample analysis. Media coverage in The Mail in the UK extrapolates to suggest a link between the UK furniture fire safety regulations and a stated increase in thyroid cancer in the UK. The Times UK points to the waste disposal problem for end-of-life furniture which would result from the UN Stockholm Convention proposed classification of PBDE as POPs.
“Greater exposure to flame retardants might be associated with thyroid cancer”, 3 April 2017 https://www.dcri.org/flame-retardants-thyroid-cancer/ “Your sofa can give you cancer: materials used to fireproof settees are linked to 74% rise in thyroid tumours”, The Mail, 22/3/17 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4395924/Your-sofa-CANCER.html “Toxic sofas linked to surge in thyroid cancer”, Sunday Times 9/4/17 https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/toxic-fire-resistant-sofas-linked-to-surge-in-thyroid-cancer-v9zd0x537