Greenpeace says game consoles just aren't green

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Greenpeace's latest report, on the "green-ness" of game consoles, reckons that all three major gaming units, Nintendo’s Wii, Sony’s PlayStation 3 Elite, and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 still have a way to go before being eco-friendly.

The report, entitled Playing Dirty noted that although manufacturers had really made efforts to cut down on the amounts of toxic and hazardous materials in their consoles, there were still enough in there to be cause for concern.

Unpleasant materials like aspolyvinyl chloride (PVC), phthalates, beryllium and bromine used in brominated flame retardants (BFRs), were just some of the usual suspects found by GreenPeace’s boffins.

Because game consoles are not legally classified as “toys”, manufacturers are apparently able to get away with using chemicals and materials which would get products which are classified as toys banned from sale in the EU market.

But Greenpeace wasn’t exactly issuing the companies with a “Game Over”, praising Nintendo for cutting out beryllium (which can cause contact dermatitis and lung cancer) altogether and limiting PVC and phthalates.

It also said that Sony’s decision to make the PS3 “bromine-free” was a good one and that the Xbox 360 using fewer brominated materials in its housing materials was also a step forward.

The environ-mental group noted that because the game console market was such a massive one, with over 60 million consoles sold to date, it was essential that manufacturers tried to make the machines as green and clean as possible.

Greenpeace also urged companies to think more profoundly about e-waste issues and what effects an ecologically unfriendly console would have on the environment if unceremoniously dumped in the junkyard of some poor developing country.

The study likewise called on all console manufacturers to re-examine their need for cramming so much bromine into circuit boards and plastic casings. Long-term bromine exposure can damage learning and memory functions, as well as interfere with thyroid and oestrogen hormone systems.

Phthalates in the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation3 were also singled out for avoidance if possible, with one particular type, DEHP, known to interfere with sexual development in humans, especially males.
Got a news tip for our journalists? Share it with us anonymously here. (c) 2010 Incisive Media

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