While you and I are sitting at home happily playing our way through Grand Theft Auto 4 on the PS3 and Xbox 360 or a round of Wii Sports tennis on the Wii, we likely don’t spend even one moment thinking about what our consoles are made up of. Luckily we don’t have to as Greenpeace do it for us, and their latest findings show that all three of the major home consoles are hazardous to our health!
Of course as I implied in my title, games consoles aren’t something we eat, or even go anywhere near our mouths, so unless we go slightly nuts and decide that a sandwich just doesn’t suffice, you wouldn’t think it matters, but maybe it does.
In a report entitled Playing Dirty, Greenpeace spells out which potentially hazardous substances are present in the consoles, and the results are rather worrying.
The study focussed on six groups of chemicals including bromine, which is used for fire retardation, lead, used in solder, phthalates and PVC, both used in plastic coatings for wires.
Pthalates were present in both the Xbox 360 and PS3, which when you realise the chemicals are believed to interfere with sexual development in males is a worrying fact. In fact the results were so bad that were games consoles classified as toys, they would be banned in Europe with the quantity of the stuff present.
Bromine was found in 50% of the consoles components, including the fan housing of the Playstation 3 and white casing of the Wii. No lead or cadmium was found in any of the consoles.
Dr. Kevin Brigden, from the Greenpeace Science Unit stated:
â€œWhether 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,â€
While Greenpeace didn’t single out the worst culprit on these tests, in the overall ranking system which the organisation employs, Nintendo is singled out as the worst culprit with environment policies described as “non-existent”.
So should we care about any of this? Probably not, as unless we eat the consoles, or rub them over our crotches on a regular basis, these chemicals are unlikely to adversely affect our health. And to be honest, if you do either of these things, then you probably have bigger problems to worry about than a few harmful chemicals lurking in your games console.