Phthalates (pronounced THAL-ates) are chemicals that are added to some plastics to increase their flexibility and softness. Although the Food and Drug Administration is still researching the effects of these chemicals, prolonged exposure to phthalates is suspected to cause a number of health problems including a possible increased risk of breast cancer and birth defects.
Because of these risks, phthalates are now being banned from many products including children's toys. However, since sex toys are considered to be novelty items, they are not regulated and many of them still contain these dangerous chemicals. Sex toys that can contain phthalates include dildos, vibrators, cock rings, and pocket pussies.