Love Stinks

Many popular erotic toys are made of polyvinyl chlorides (PVC) -- plastics long decried by eco-activists for the toxins released during their manufacture and disposal -- and softened with phthalates, a controversial family of chemicals. These include invitingly soft "jelly" or "cyberskin" items, which have grown popular in the last decade or so, says Carol Queen, Ph.D., "staff sexologist" for the San Francisco-based adult toy boutique Good Vibrations. "It's actually difficult for a store today to carry plenty of items and yet avoid PVC," Queen says. "Its use has gotten pretty ubiquitous among the large purveyors, because it's cheap and easy to work with."