There has been discussion on these forums, and even some talk at balloon buddies about the pre phthalate ban PVCs, and how much more softer and smoother they feel. If possible, I would like to propose this thread to be a leads list of items that you have bought recently, that may still contain phthalate, or if not, at least feel like it.
Last week I bought a trial selection of inflatables from my variety store. The quality was mixed during inflation, however still somewhat surprising. Though turning out to be quite big, measuring 183 cm; the inflatable sharks from Driclad were rubbish, as the plastic was hard, stiff, and covered in safety warnings which took away from the visual arousal.
Doing better were these inflatable battle sticks from Driclad. Though they felts still somewhat hard, a good firm inflation had stretched them, thus softening the thickness. When clawing, the plastic started squeeking and stretching more, so these ended up on my bulk list to buy. They measure 119 cm in length, only small drawback is the printed design on them is of a matt finish.
However............. the winner here is the Driclad inflatable swim tubes measuring 91 cm width when inflated. These I do suspect have some form of phthalate in them. Interestingly on the day I opened some boxes and bags for sampling what plastic each inflatable used, the blue and yellow tubes were somewhat thicker and stiffer. However strangely the pink ones felt way softer and gummier.
Whether this was just a consistency issue from the bulk PVC sheeting the tubes were cut from, or a higher degree of plasticiser was used for the entire run of pink tubes, I simply LOVE LOVE LOVE these. I blew one up yesterday, and it just felt like a huge balloon, I was blown off my couch.
So in the end, a few dozen packs of the inflatable battle sticks, and a crate full of these pink tubes landed into my trolley. I got a whole heap of 91 cm's for generally looning and finger clawing, and 76 cm's for some foot digging.
So, now up to everyone else, love to know any leads. Thanks to Craggy2012 who mentioned new-old-stock of 80s challenge sports 48 inch beach balls, but checking all over google, amazon, ebay, gumtree drew no cigar.