Read the full article by Rashmi Joglekar (Earth Justice)
“Two recent reports released by the European Union (EU), authored by Health and Environmental Alliance (HEAL) and the Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP/RAC), are among the first large-scale efforts to illustrate plastic pollution not only as an environmental threat, but also as a problem of chemical safety affecting children in particular.
Plastics are pervasive in our environment and are the source of unprecedented pollution in our water, food, and bodies.
The undeniable problem of plastic pollution is compounded by the synthetic chemicals found within plastics. Often referred to as ‘additives,’ these chemicals can easily leach from plastic products into the surrounding environment. Due to the widespread use of plastic products in our homes, additives have been detected in most people, including children.
The EU reports highlight that the most commonly used plastic additives belong to hazardous chemical families like flame retardants, phthalates, bisphenols, and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS. Brominated flame retardants, bisphenol-A, most commonly known as BPA, and phthalates, are all associated with disruption of the human endocrine system, which regulates hormones, and are linked to a variety of health problems including cancer, birth defects, and reduced fertility. These toxic additives are found in furniture, personal care products, and of course, toys that toddlers and children often put in their mouths.
While toxic additives have been detected in everyday plastic consumer products; plastic products marketed towards children are of particular concern since infants and children are more vulnerable to chemical exposures. Some phthalates linked to reproductive and neurodevelopmental harm in children comprise up to 40% of the total dry weight of some plastic children’s toys. Heavy metals and other toxic additives were also detected in plastic Halloween costumes and decorations…”