Molly Scott Cato has welcomed a vote in the European Parliament today to reject the authorisation of the recycling of soft PVC plastic containing DEHP, a toxic plastic softener linked to major health concerns such as male infertility.

Academic research suggests that men are particularly susceptible to suffering reduced fertility as a result of the action of the class of industrial compounds known as phthalates, of which DEHP is one. Exposure can affect levels of testosterone and the quality of sperm.

Dr Scott Cato said:

“Greens don’t always vote for recycling, not when it involves returning toxic substances back into the supply chain. We see this as a cynical attempt to dress up a major public-health risk as a green initiative. The Commission may have been taken in by the chemical corporations but the Parliament was not. DEHP should be phased out, instead of being perpetuated via recycling. Nobody would ever suggest recycling asbestos – the same should apply to toxic DEHP.

“Today’s vote sends a strong message to the Commission a week ahead of the adoption of the circular economy package: promoting recycling of toxic substances with proven health effects in the name of resource efficiency would be perverse. We have also sent a clear message to the chemicals industry that they cannot hide behind the righteousness of recycling in order to perpetuate the use of toxic substances that are a risk to European public health.”

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