1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email
Cory Silverberg

Sex Toys Contain Dangerous Chemicals, but Are They Dangerous?

By September 9, 2006

Follow me on:

Updating the last blog post about phthalates in sex toys, I got an email from the Udansk blog who just posted information about the Danish Environment Protection Agency, which recently released a detailed report on phthalates in sex toys. As far as I know this is the first time a government agency has studied and published results related to the safety of sex toys. Some of the key findings from his blog post:

  • moderate use of dildoes (less than 15 min/week) is not associated with any significant health risk
  • heavy usage (1 hour/day) is not associated with any significant health risk, except for pregnant and breastfeeding women who should abstain from heavy usage

And some other tips from the report:

  • avoid oil-based lubricants as they increase the transfer of phthalates
  • don't buy PVC toys
  • use PVC toys with a condom

    Udansk also translated a do it yourself guide from the report on how to test if your sex toys contain phthalates:

    1. take a thread of copper and heat it over a flame
    2. press it against the sex toy in question
    3. heat it over the flame again: If the flame is green, your sex toy likely contains PVC

    I asked the author of the blog about this test. He told me that it is detecting chlorides, but that some products may contain phthalates but not be PVC, so this test isn't perfect, but it's a quick DIY for some information. **UPDATE**Robert Lawrence, co-founder of the Center for Sex and Culture emailed me with this piece of added advice:

    The hot wire test should only be performed under a filtered fume hood. It will release toxic smoke and fumes and if breathed in is bad for health. If you do it outside then you are adding to environmental mess.

    I've been told by some manufacturers that you can tell if a toy has phthalates by the strong chemical smell many jelly rubber sex toys have out of the package, and that the stronger the smell, the more phthalates are likely in your toy. This method has the benefit of not melting a small part of your toy in the testing process.

    Regardless of the findings of this study, which seem to suggest that using toys with phthalates does not pose a health risk (unless the user is pregnant or breastfeeding), it's still recommended that if you use less expensive rubber sex toys, you should use a condom on them. The environmental issue aside, putting a condom on any sex toy will make it safer to use for those who are not allergic to the condom.

    Read more - Udansk: a copenhagen blog: Phthalates in sextoys: Dangerous?

    Previously - Greenpeace UK Urges Ban on Toxic Sex Toys

  • Comments
    November 16, 2006 at 11:02 am
    (1) loveguide says:

    Hmm.. It’s interesting, but what about millions of dollars spent for plastic toys production? Of course, I agree that toys must be safe, but people’s characteristic feature is to be wise after the event, that is to remember about safety of the thing after it is produced and sold for the maximum price.

    May 22, 2008 at 8:10 am
    (2) Toys says:

    Sextoys give goodlife reduce crime
    Itís a cool site which contains a lot of information about sexuality and sex toys.

    August 7, 2008 at 12:17 pm
    (3) Toys says:

    The toys from china are made of chemical free ozone’s and have been proven safe now do a search on google.
    Regards

    October 3, 2008 at 2:42 pm
    (4) christine says:

    Who decided 15 minutes once a week is normal? :-/

    November 27, 2008 at 2:24 pm
    (5) Sex Toys Canada says:

    Use glass toys instead if possible. These are hypoallergenic and dead easy to keep clean. Nowadays they are made from medical grade glass so you don’t have to worry about them shattering or breaking if you use them in sensitive places!

    December 13, 2008 at 6:35 am
    (6) rabbitgirl says:

    my original rabbit died, hubby bought a new wireless one. I tried it once, not does it smell really bad of strong chemicals, but it burned me. Out to the trash it goes. So how can you be sure its safe before you buy? What is a “safe” material?

    December 13, 2008 at 12:42 pm
    (7) Cory says:

    @rabbitgirl: this article reviews some of the things to look at when choosing a safe material for you. In general toys that 100% silicone are less like to cause a reaction, same goes for hard plastic, metal, wood, and glass/pyrex toys. But in the end we’re all different and it’s hard to know what you’ll react to. What you can do is ask the store where you bought your most recent rabbit, what was that made of? Then avoid that material altogether.

    March 27, 2011 at 12:00 pm
    (8) Celine says:

    15 minutes once a week? That wouldn’t be enough for me in a day. I need my toys a lot more than that.

    Leave a Comment

    Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

    ©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.