Phthalates vs silicone

Dildos of Death    –  That love doll may be doing you wrong

By: Amy Jo Van Bodegraven
published   Sep 17, 2007 


In 1998, the Consumer Product Safety Commission banned the use of certain plastics in children’s toys after a study showed that a type of plastic additive, called phthalate, is easily absorbed through soft tissues like the inside of the mouth. But what about adult toys and the soft tissues they’re exposed to?

A study commissioned by Greenpeace tested eight popular sex toys and found that seven of them contained extremely high levels of phthalates””as high as 243,000 parts per million. (Liver problems, anemia, and reduced fertility have been detected in mice exposed to 10,000 parts per million, and phthalates in general have been linked to obesity, cancer, sperm damage, and genital deformities in male babies.) Phthalate-laden sex toys are sold under the seemingly harmless name jelly rubber. Everything from vibrators to dildos to cock rings to sleeves (those faux-vagina devices) are made from jelly rubber, and they all have that new-shower-curtain smell, which is a dead giveaway for the presence of phthalates. “Jelly rubber toys are popular because they’re less expensive than others,” explains Rebecca Denk, the business manager at Babeland, one of the nation’s largest sex-toy retailers. But the lower price tag is truly the only advantage. “Over time, jelly rubber toys start to degrade,” says Denk. “They become sticky and take on a cloudy appearance.” As the plastic degrades, the harmful chemicals leach out at an accelerated rate.

Fortunately, sex-toy retailers are taking things into their own hands. Any customer who buys a jelly rubber toy at Babeland also gets a pamphlet about the dangers of phthalates. Good Vibrations, another major sex-toy retailer and the people responsible for making May National Masturbation Month, is phasing out all phthalate-based toys by October 2007 and replacing them with toys made of silicon, elastomer, metal, or glass””safe alternatives to phthalates. Since sex toys aren’t regulated, manufacturers are free to put whatever ingredient claims they want on their products.

In order to make sure you’re getting toys that are truly phthalate free, buy from stores that guarantee the ingredients in their products, such as Babeland, Good Vibrations, and Adam & Eve. Or stick to phthalate-free brands such as Big Teaze Toys, Topco, Vibratex, and California Exotics.

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