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Germany

Fiendish Flip-Flops?

They're a summer must for the in-crowd in Germany -- flip-flops. They come in bright colors, vibrant patterns and suggest innocent, sunshine-dappled, lazy days. They might also make you sterile or worse.

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They're all the rage; are they deadly too?

Before you pick up a pair of those €44 barely-there shoes so you can hold your head high with the fashionable ones, think of your health.

The German consumer affairs magazine Ökotest tested 25 different brands of the shoes; 14 of them emerged with an "unsatisfactory" rating. Why? There are toxic substances living among those happy colors and trippy designs. The more expensive the shoes, it seems, the more harmful they might be.

The test found several different kinds of toxins in the shoes, among them phthalate, with his suspected of acting like a hormone when introduced to the human body and can damage the liver, kidneys or the reproductive system. Several of the sandal models even had lead or harmful zinc or organophosphorus compounds. The magazine will publish the test results in all their gory detail in its July edition.