TANZANIA and other African countries have expressed concern over the European Union’s proposal to recycle products containing toxic flame retardants into new products such as children’s toys, food containers and soft furnishings.
“We do not want toxic chemicals recycled into toys for African children and we do not think EU children should be playing with them either,” said Prof Jamidu Kitima from Tanzania in a statement made available to this newspaper.
Prof Kitima, the Chairman of Agenda for Environment and Responsible Development- AGENDA, said at a UN meeting of chemicals treaties in Geneva, Switzerland recently that Africa is already receiving e-waste from all over the world under different disguises.
“If the EU proposed standards are adopted, they would increase our toxic burden,” warned Prof Kitima in the wake of the EU push of dangerous clean-up standards for three toxic flame retardant chemicals widely used in building insulation, upholstery and electronics. All three toxic chemicals are listed in the Stockholm Convention for global elimination.
They are ubiquitous in the environment globally and can disrupt human hormone systems, creating potential adverse effects on the development of the nervous system and children’s IQ.
The EU proposal will allow toxic recycled products to be used by EU consumers and then exported to developing countries as waste, transferring the toxic burden from richer countries to poor countries where the capacity to deal with contaminated waste is limited and where they will potentially add to health problems and hamper poverty reduction.
Jindrich Petrlik from Arnika Association in Czech Republic said, “As an EUbased public interest NGO we find it shameful to see the EU violating the integrity of the Stockholm Convention and putting economic interests before human health and the environment. This is poisoning the circular economy.”
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