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Following a provisional agreement with the Romanian Presidency of the EU, the European Parliament’s environment committee today agreed to new EU rules on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), which will keep millions exposed to toxic chemicals in toys and other products made of recycled plastics [1].

Under the new agreement, high levels of hazardous brominated flame retardants that are present in electronical waste will be allowed in recycled plastics. These chemicals have been associated with thyroid disruption and neurological deficits in children, and have been found in toys across the EU [2].

The new limit will open up a pandora’s box for the recycling of articles containing the controversial DecaBDE, and goes against the EU’s obligations under the Stockholm Convention which has listed this chemical for global elimination without recycling exemptions.

No one would knowingly give children toxic waste to play with”, says Genon K. Jensen, Executive Director of the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL). “We regret the EU is about to allow such high limits of some of the most hazardous materials, instead of closing this toxic loophole to protect people’s health.”

A strong coalition of health and environment groups urged the European Union to approve strict and protective limits for Persistent Organic Pollutants ahead of the committee vote today [3]. Before the new rules become law, the EU Parliament plenary and the EU Council need to give final approval.