Even recycling can result in dangers to health: the old plastic materials may contain plasticizers yesterday admitted and today banned from Europe.
To improve mouldability and flexibility of the plastics used in children’s games or food containers, for over 50 years, and until 2005, DEHP (di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate) has been used, a petroleum-derived that, only after, it was discovered to have been established and serious toxic effects on health, endocrine disruptor and real threat to the male reproductive system.
Hence the decision of the European Union that, in 2005, banned its use in industry. Now, however, and despite the compact opposition of Parliament, the Commission has proposed a legislative proposal to allow the recycling of old plastic materials containing DEHP in new PVC products, mostly footwear and floor coverings. According to the EU executive, it will be sufficient to apply some instruments as guarantees for possible risks, such as continuous monitoring of worker exposure to DEHP, reviewing the grant of authorization within a few years.
To the Commission, which justifies its decision with the need to reduce the amount of waste material destined to landfills, instead implementing recovery and recycling operations, the Parliament replies that
“It is not acceptable to tolerate many potential cases of male infertility solely for the PVC recycling companies and downstream users to reduce their costs of production of low-value items”.