Phthalates are chemicals used extensively in the manufacture of plastics for their desirable physical characteristics. In addition to enhancing the performance of plastics, phthalates have a number of undesirable effects, principally endocrine disruptor effects, that may have adverse effects on reproductive development and functioning. As a result, they have been banned from the manufacture of children's toys. Despite this, they continue to be used in the manufacture of medical devices, including anaesthetic equipment. This study aimed to assess phthalate release from five brands of tracheal tube. Using gas chromatography�mass spectrometry, we analysed phthalate concentrations from samples of ultra pure water in which tracheal tubes had been submerged. Phthalate concentration increased from 6.7 to 149 ?g.l?1 over a period of 4.8 days. Phthalate release from anaesthetic equipment has not previously been documented over short time periods and raises the possibility of iatrogenic endocrine disruption with routine anaesthesia.