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Endocrine Disruptors

EU to bar sales of televisions with flame retardants in their casings

by Cheryl Hogue
October 6, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 39


Photo shows the stocking feet of people sitting on a couch in front of a television.
Credit: Tero Vesalainen/Shutterstock

As of March 2021, the European Union is banning the sale of televisions and computer monitors encased with plastic containing halogenated flame retardants. The European Commission, the executive branch of the EU, adopted this requirement Oct. 1 as part of new ecodesign standards for certain large household products. Monique Goyens, director general of BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation, says the prohibition on goods containing halogenated flame retardants will help protect consumer health. Organohalogen flame retardants not bound to a polymer’s structure can migrate out of plastic. Many of these chemicals are linked to health effects including cancer, hormone disruption, and harmful developmental effects. But the International Bromine Council (BSEF), which represents companies that make brominated compounds, strongly opposes the move, calling it an “arbitrary and discriminatory” ban on halogenated flame retardants. The new EU standards are intended in part to boost the recyclability of products and contribute to a circular economy in which discarded items become raw material for new products. The policy will reduce the amount of hazardous flame retardants that end up in recycled plastic, says Arlene Blum, executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute in the US.


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