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Analysis and Assessment of Exposure to Selected Phthalates Found in Children's Toys in Christchurch, New Zealand


Internationally several phthalates are subject to regulatory control regarding maximum allowable concentrations in children's toys. Such regulation is not in place in New Zealand. Phthalates have been associated with developmental toxicity and endocrine disruption. We determined the concentration of seven phthalates in children's toys purchased in Christchurch, New Zealand. These results provided data for an exposure assessment deriving Hazard Indices (HI) for oral and dermal exposure routes in children, based on the concentration of mixtures of phthalates shown by the EU to produce either reproductive/developmental or hepatotoxic effects. Of the 49 toys analyzed, 65% contained at least one phthalate at a concentration of >0.1% by mass; and 35% contained multiple-phthalates at individual concentrations of >0.1%. A HI of 3.4 was derived for the combined exposures to the four phthalates associated with reproductive and developmental effects. A HI of 0.3 was derived for the group of phthalates associated with hepatotoxic effects. Five phthalates were detected at levels exceeding the EU regulatory limit of 0.1% by mass. Risk assessment calculations indicate that, using realistic exposure scenarios, the worst-case combined exposure to phthalates associated with developmental toxicity exceeded a HI of 1 so may cause adverse developmental effects.

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