Greenpeace maintains pressure on console manufacturers over toxic chemicals

By Patrick Garratt
20 May 2008 14:24 GMT

Speaking to the BBC, Greenpeace has yet again slammed Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft over the use of toxic substances in games machines, describing Nintendo’s environment policies as “non-existent”.

“Nintendo doesn’t have any environmental policies, ” said Zeina Al-Hajj, Greenpeace’s International Toxic Campaign co-ordinator.

“We were shocked with Nintendo; it was our biggest surprise.”

Greenpeace is mainly concerned that companies such as Microsoft and Nintendo are including large amounts of chemicals known as phthalates in console parts. These substances are used to soften wires and cable coatings, and are banned in the EU in toy manufacturer. Games consoles, however, are not legally classed as toys.

“We see a gap there. For us this is still a toy,” said Al-Hajj.

“And whether or not it’s a toy, we do not want these chemicals in our products.”

A Nintendo spokesperson said, “”We fully comply with all the necessary EU Directives on the Restriction of Hazardous Substances aimed at environmental protection and consumer health and safety.

“Furthermore, in order to ensure our products are safe for use by young children we also take into consideration the standards applicable to toys.”

Greenpeace now appears to be keeping regular pressure on console manufacturers over these issues: the organisation most recently issued a report on the matter in March.

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