1. How safe is your sex toy?

    Lovehoney lab tests its sex toysFurther to a scare in 2001 over levels of phthalates in toys, a recent Greenpeace Netherlands report has brought attention back to the issue. The earlier scare had its effects - in 2005 the EU banned the use of the phthalate DEHP in children's toys, forcing toy manufacturers to develop alternatives - and the more recent Greenpeace research shows that many sex toys still carry high levels of phthalates.

    We've done our own research, both before (in our sex toys and phthalates buyer's guide - which links to other scientific research giving a more balanced view of the dangers of phthalates) and since the Greenpeace report. While the existing legislation only applies to toys and childcare articles which children are likely to hold in their mouths for long periods of time, we want our customers to be as confident as possible about buying sex toys, so we sent one of our most popular toys to a lab to have it tested for phthalates.

    So what did we send? Tracey Cox's Supersex Mini Rabbit Vibrator, which we've long considered the best mini-rabbit vibrator ever made: we even made a short film about it! But even we hadn't put it through the kind of wringer it was put through by the Intertek Labtest, which involved chopping up different parts of the toy, weighing them (using at least 5g of each part), then extracting the results using an ICP machine. To see more details of the testing, science fans, look at our Science of Sex Toy Phthalates Testing buyer's guide.

    The good news is that the Supersex Mini Rabbit Vibrator registered as N/D (not detected) for 5 of the listed phthalate esters (DBP, BBP, DNOP, DINP and DIDP), and had amounts of under 0.01% w/w for DEHP - well under the maximum allowable limit of 0.1% for plasticised children's toys and childcare articles. This doesn't mean that we'll be complacent in future, though: we'll be monitoring this debate closely, and will ensure that we continue to bring you only the safest, greenest sex toys.