November 17, 2006

Ford and Honda make progress in eliminating toxic plastics

Ann Arbor, Michigan – The Ecology Center, a leading U.S. watchdog on toxic chemicals, has released its second annual Automotive Plastics Report, which grades the country’s eight leading car manufacturers on their plastics policies and practices. The Center says that Ford and Honda have made significant improvements since last year, joining Toyota as leaders in the movement toward using sustainable plastics in indoor auto parts.

According to the American Plastics Council, the average vehicle uses 113 kg (250 lbs) of plastic, with a significant proportion used to make interior parts. Many are made with harmful chemical additives, such as phthalates in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) which emit gas and leach from the parts, contaminating the air and dust inside vehicles. Many plastics are also not easily recycled and end up in landfills or incinerators, where their chemical additives cause further contamination.

The 2006 report focused on three areas in which some automakers are making significant progress: use of bio-based materials, improving interior air quality, and reducing the use of PVC.

“Ford, Honda and Toyota’s leading edge efforts in the use of bio-based materials, improving interior air quality and reducing PVC clearly put them ahead of the pack,” says Claudette Juska of the Ecology Center, and author of the report. “These issues are important to consumers and show a broader commitment to healthier, more sustainable vehicles.”

The full report can be found at

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