The issue of use of Brominated Flame Retardants in the plastic of Electronic and Electrical devices has been cause of concern globally. The issue has not been raised at all in India and Toxics Link did this by releasing its report “Brominated Flame Retardants, Spreading the fire”. The report highlighted the concerns emerging from the improper recycling of E-plastics or plastics from Electrical and Electronic equipments and raised debate on the fears of cross contamination.

Major finding of the BFR report

  • Workers in the plastic recycling unit in and around Delhi handle both BFR laden and BFR free plastic in same way due to lack of awareness on the hazards of BFR.
  • BFR plastic when heated during the recycling process may release brominated dibenzofurans which is a known carcinogen.
  • Fifty percent of recycled plastic samples tested in this study detected PBDE (type of BFR) in varying quantities.
  • The results of the samples tested point clearly towards the presence of BFRs in the recycled plastic pellets, thus raising the possibility of the unintended contamination of plastics and exposure of a large population to BFRs.

Another study on cross contamination of leaded glass present in Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) was also carried out. Secondary research and field surveys were done to understand the supply chain and document some of the practices in the informal sector. The report focuses on recycling/ disposal practices as well as illegal dumping of CRT in India.

Major finding of the CRT report

  • With the closed–loop recycling of CRT glass losing its market, managing CRT glass in a sound manner is becoming a challenge for India.
  • This study shows that CRT glass, a major part of which is lead, gets mixed with other clean glass thereby contaminating the glass chain.
  • The mixed glass is used to make new products like bottles, marbles, and decorative pieces, hence reaching us without any warning.
  • The report also brings out startling facts on the possibility of CRT being dumped in India from developed countries.