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Game consoles fail Greenpeace's green electronics test

Posted: 26 May 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:game consoles? electronics test green? report Greenpeace?

Greenpeace has lambasted Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo for "playing dirty." In the "Playing Dirty" report by Greenpeace, the organization revealed that the world's most popular game consolesNintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 3 Elite (PS3) and Microsoft Xbox 360tested positive for hazardous chemicals and materials such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), phthalates, beryllium and bromine indicative of brominated flame retardants (BFRs).

With some differences in the amount of hazardous chemicals and materials, all three manufacturers failed the green electronics test set by Greenpeace. The report reveals, for both the Xbox 360 and PS3, some materials contained very high levels of phthalates that are not permitted in components of toys or childcare articles sold in the European Union.

"Whether game consoles are classified as toys or not, they can still contain hazardous chemicals and materials that could harm humans. The technology is available for the manufacturers to design out toxics and produce greener game consoles now," said Kevin Brigden, Greenpeace science unit.

All game consoles tested positive for various hazardous chemicals; for example, high levels of bromine were found in the components of all three, with the highest by weight levels of 13.8 percent and 12.5 percent in the PS3 and the Wii, respectively. However, the tests also show that each of the manufacturers has avoided or reduced uses of individual hazardous substances in certain materials within their consoles. In the Nintendo Wii, beryllium alloys were not identified in electrical contacts, and the use of PVC and phthalates was found to be limited. At the same time, the PS3 included examples of "bromine-free" circuit boards, and the Xbox 360 had lower usage of brominated materials within housing materials.

"Our test clearly shows that a greener game console is possible; manufacturers just need to look "inside the box" of the competition to see which of their own dirty components can be replaced with toxic free materials." said Casey Harrell, Greenpeace international toxics campaigner.

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