Posts Tagged ‘toxics’


May 15th, 2014

We’ve got so many bath toys at our house that there’s barely room for my kids in the tub. But there’s one kind of tub toy that we don’t have. A few years ago when I learned about the dangers of chemical plasticizers called phthalates, I purged our entire flock of rubber duckies. But it seems rubber ducks are no longer a toy to be feared by parents in Canada… or in China, either.

In this audio story, produced for the Greenpeace Canada podcast, you’ll hear from a campaigner in the Greenpeace office in Beijing, China about a successful campaign to regulate toxic chemicals in children’s toys.

Click the link below to listen.

Greenpeace Canada podcast

Rubber duckie radio

April 8th, 2014

I recently had the privilege of putting together a story for Greenpeace Canada’s latest podcast, which is out today on iTunes.

My part of the podcast is about phthalates, endocrine disrupting chemicals that are used to soften plastic. I was already familiar with the subject when Greenpeace assigned me the story… I first learned about phthalates when I read a magazine article back in 2008 and realized with horror that the rubber duckies my kids chewed on in the bathtub were potentially toxic. I ended up throwing all of my kids’ squeezable bath toys out in a panic.

Great progress has been made in the regulation of phthalates in products for children since then. It was great to be able to report on an environmental success story and get the truth about toxics in toys. Spoiler alert: I can end my vendetta against the rubber duck.

Producing the story involved the very cool experience of conducting an interview with an expert in Beijing via Skype. But the best part of the assignment was interviewing my daughter at bath time. Recording her squeaky voice telling me all about her favourite bath toys was a hoot. I should interview my kids more often.

I was happy, as well, to get the chance to work for Greenpeace — an organization that started here in Vancouver and whose work I’ve long admired. You can also hear me on one of their earlier podcasts interviewing strangers on the street about the Greenpeace vessel, the Rainbow Warrior.

Long may she sail.