Toxic Soup: Dioxins in Plastic Toys

This study found significant levels of toxic brominated dioxins (PBDD/Fs) accompanying brominated flame retardants in nine samples of consumer products made from recycled plastics. PBDD/Fs are as toxic as the better-known chlorinated dioxins and furans (PCDD/ Fs). In addition, PBDEs and PBDD/Fs are endocrine disrupting chemicals, which may impact the hormone levels in children through uptake from e.g. house dust and toys. They can, for example, affect brain development, damage the immune system and fetus, or induce carcinogenesis.

  • Author: Jindřich Petrlík, Peter Behnisch, Joseph DiGangi
  • Number of pages: 28
  • Language: English
  • Publication date: 23/11/2018

Read the related press-release (22/11/2018)


Progress in scientific knowledge and efforts to protect consumers, as well as public pressure, are contributing to restrictions over toxic chemicals in consumer products. Mouthing toys for children, food contact materials, and kitchen utensils belong to products that are regulated in Europe. Nevertheless, there are huge legislative loopholes ignoring contamination of those critical items by a class of chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs). POPs are considered unmanageable due to their persistence, bioaccumulation, long-range transport and toxicity. The Stockholm Convention is a legally-binding global treaty that seeks to protect human health and the environment by reduction and elimination of POPs. The treaty’s list of 28 substances includes brominated flame retardants (BFRs) commonly used in the plastic casings of computers, televisions, electronic office equipment, and many other electrical and electronic items.

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