20 May 2008 23:23 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Phthalates, substances used to make plastics soft and bendable, could interfere with the sexual development of males in contact with video game consoles, according to the US environmental group Greenpeace in a statement on Tuesday.
Greenpeace claims phthalates and other chemicals found in some of the most popular video game consoles on the market today are "hazardous". Those chemicals include polyvinyl chloride (PVC), phthalates, beryllium, and bromine, according to Greenpeace's analysis of the three best-selling consoles.
Greenpeace has a longstanding complaint that the softened PVC used in electronics to insulate wiring contains phthalates, a plasticiser that it says has also been linked to cancer.
However, the environmental group went a step further on Tuesday by claiming that contact with video game consoles could have sexual side-effects. It was not clear if Greenpeace was implying that small children could potentially ingest DEHP by chewing on the video game wires, or if pregnant women or young males could be affected by the phthalates by simply handling the parts of the system.
“Components of the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation3 also contained high levels of phthalates, one of which – DEHP – is known to interfere with sexual development in mammals: including humans and, especially, males,” Greenpeace said.
Manufacturers Microsoft of Xbox and Sony of Playstation did not immediately reply to requests for comment. E-mails to Greenpeace and the National Association of Video Games were also not immediately returned.
Greenpeace in the past has protested the use of PVC because it claims the thermoplastic polymer releases carcinogenic dioxins when burned for disposal.
The affirmation that PVC poses widespread health risks has been ridiculed by some industry sources. Greenpeace co-founder and former member Patrick Moore himself has said that the group’s criticism of PVC did not have any basis in scientific fact.
According to the Vinyl Institute trade group, PVC is an extremely small source of dioxin, and the amount of dioxin in the environment would be essentially unchanged if PVC were not being manufactured.
Greenpeace has also led a campaign to outlaw all types of forestry and has called for a world-wide ban on the element chlorine.
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