Phthalates are added to plastics to make them more flexible. They are found in damn near everything: catheters, paint, shower curtains, glue, and sex toys. Phthalates have been linked to reproductive, liver, and kidney problems, as well as cancer. In the US, a law was passed under the Bush Jr administration banning phthalates in children's toys above a concentration of more than 0.1%. There is no regulation in the sex toy industry as far a phthalate content.
Green Peace in the Netherlands commissioned a study, to be performed by TNO Built Environment and Geosciences, to measure the phthalate levels in sex toys. They tested eight sex toys, and found that only one did not contain phthalates. The other seven contained phthalates ranging in concentration from 24% to 49%. Keep in mind, children's toys can't contain more than 0.1%.
The only toy that did not contain phthalates was the "Cyber Pussy." Since phthalates are used to soften plastics, you can avoid them by using toys made from hard plastic, glass, stainless steel, or acrylic, or by having real sex. Condoms do not contains phthalates. Also, toys leak more and more phthalates as they age, so the older a toy is, the more toxic it can be. Here is a PDF of the Green Peace study.
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