Greenpeace backs decision to stop Southampton Football Club selling off toxic seats

Last edited 16 March 2001 at 9:00am
16 March, 2001
Gas maskGreenpeace today backed the decision to stop Southampton Football Club selling off seats from The Dell when the ground is demolished this summer. The PVC seats contain high levels of the toxic metal cadmium.

Commenting on the decision, Mark Strutt, a toxics campaigner at Greenpeace, said:
"This is the right decision for both football fans and the environment. The seats should be sent to a special waste landfill as the best of several bad options. If the seats were sold and taken home by fans the plastic could erode over time releasing highly toxic cadmium dust into the home environment."

The Head of Marketing for Southampton Football Club, Paul Blanchard, was quoted as saying,
"There is an awful lot of evidence to suggest there is absolutely nothing wrong with cadmium - we don't understand how it is okay for people to sit on them, but not to own them."

In fact there is a complete scientific consensus that cadmium is a highly dangerous toxic metal and the United Kingdom is a signatory to an international treaty (called the OSPAR Convention) to eliminate cadmium pollution.

The Health and Safety Executive have stated that: "Exposure to cadmium can result in serious long term health effects, principally on the lungs and kidneys. Cadmium oxide is classified as a category 2 carcinogen (ie it may be able to cause cancer in humans)"[1].

Paul Blanchard is right in seeing a lower health risk in sitting on the seats in the open air but if taken indoors by souvenir-hunting fans the seats would slowly generate cadmium dust which could pose a toxic threat. Selling off the seats would also be a bad environmental option since cadmium should be collected for proper disposal rather than distributed over a wide area.

Notes for Editors:
[1] HSE Press Release, 22 April 1999

Further information:
Greenpeace UK press office 020 7865 8255

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