19 Mar 2016

Phthalates: can they harm us?

From This Way Up, 1:45 pm on 19 March 2016
Rubber ducks

Rubber ducks Photo: (Flickr user gaetanlee cc-by-2.0)

Phthalates are a class of chemicals that make plastic flexible; they put the squeeze in your bath toys and help make your cling film cling.

Handy, but are they bad for our health?  Well ingesting too many phthalates over a prolonged period has been linked to disruptions in the body's communication system, our hormones.

So how much is too much? And with phthalates being phased out in some areas are the products replacing them any better for us? Toxicologist Professor Ian Shaw of The University of Canterbury has been weighing up the latest evidence.