Unsafe Sex Toys

I’m not sure what is more dangerous – sex toys made with PVC and/or containing phthalates – or the alternative, glass sex toys.  I squirmed just typing those last two words.  PVC, broken glass, PVC, broken glass.  Talk about a Catch-22!  Then again, there is the alternative of not using sex toys, so there’s that.

Anyway, many jelly-like sex toys (especially the cheap ones) are made with PVC and almost all jelly toys contain phthalates.  To recap, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is considered the Poison Plastic.  During it’s lifecycle PVC releases phthalates (carcinogen), dioxin (carcinogen), and vinyl chloride (carcinogen).  Do you really want to be putting that stuff in your private parts?  Ugh, I think not.

There is some question about whether the pthalates from sex toys actually leaches into your system.  The Danish Environmental Protection Agency, who studied phthalates in sex toys, recently determined that even heavy usage of dildoes (more than one hour a day – who has that kind of time, I ask you?) doesn’t pose a significant health risk except for pregnant or breastfeeding women.  The report also suggests the following:

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

According to Greenpeace Netherlands, the two toys you should absolutely avoid are the “Spectra Gel Anal Plug” or the “Crystal Jelly Double Dong” which contain “extremely high concentrations of phthalate plasticisers which allegedly pose a risk to human health and the environment” (um, I can think of a few other reasons to avoid those particular items, but I digress).

The other option that is considered totally safe (except I keep visualizing broken glass) is glass sex toys.  No PVC and no phthalates.

(photo, complete with PVC Barbie, courtesy of Mattel.com)

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One Response to Unsafe Sex Toys

  1. Melanie says:

    Just wanted to make a comment about the ‘broken glass’ issue mentioned in relation to glass sexy toys. Glass toys are made from Pyrex glass, which is actually extremely safe, and will absolutely not shatter. It’s thick and solid, not fragile and thin like a windowpane!
    Aside from having used glass toys (they’re fantastic, by the way), I work for an online sex toy retailer, researching and writing copy about all kinds of toys. Glass and stainless steel are by far the safest choices, and going back to the broken glass- one of my tests was to throw, kick around, and generally abuse a glass dildo. Nothing happened, not even a scratch, and the test surface was a cement warehouse floor! The only thing you need to be careful of is some of the nubby or raised texturing on glass toys can chip during shipping or whatnot, so you just have to check it over before using. Even this has happened maybe twice in my 4 years here.
    On that note, yes, some of the jelly toys are horrible, opening the package releases an awful chemical smell, and you can actually see moisture or stickiness on the toy itself, which is the off-gassing of the chemicals and leaching of phthalates and other nasty stuff, respectively. To be fair, these lower end toys are becoming fewer and farther between now, as manufacturers are becoming more aware of the harmful effects of cheap materials. Basically, the moral here is- don’t cheap out on anything you’re putting in or on your body! Yes, glass and steel toys are pricier, but they’re very safe, and last much much longer.
    Sorry for the sermon, I stumbled across this post in doing some research on PVC, and had to add my 2 cents!

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