Such was the headline in one online story about the news from our Dutch colleagues, who have found high levels of gender-bending phthalates in sex toys sold in the Netherlands. Seven out of eight sex toys sampled, including dildos and vibrators, contained phthalates in concentrations varying from 24 to 51 percent!

Phthalates are used to soften plastics. They also mimic human hormones and can damage reproduction, cause liver and kidney defects, and upset the body's ability to regulate hormone production. There is some evidence they cause cancer.

In 2005 the EU banned the use of the phthalate DEHP in children's toys because of its damaging effect on young children. One of the issues there was that many toys spend a lot of time in the mouths of children, accelerating the leaching of chemicals and their uptake in the bloodstream.

Independent testing revealed that seven out of eight sex toys, including dildos and vibrators, contained phthalates in concentrations varying from 24 to 51 percent. According to Greenpeace Toxic campaigner Bart van Opzeeland, these are among the highest concentrations found in anything he's tested over the last few years. And these objects are intended for internal and oral use!

Three million people in the Netherlands say they have sex toys in their homes, and a million toys a year are sold on the domestic market. (Yeah, you do the math, you realise that either more people have sex toys in their home than say they do, or an awful lot of tourists are buying them here and taking them home.)

So other than writing a rib-tickling blog about this (oh come on, you gotta let me have ONE gratuitous sex pun here), what's a body to do????

You can sign this petition demanding better chemical regulation in the EU, and you can watch this video about how to buy safer sex toys in future.