Midweek-Sex Toy Green-up Info

June 29, 2009

How well do you know your sex toy?

It turns out, sex toys are considered “novelty items” and are unregulated because “novelty” means they are not intended for use.  (Interesting, that a $ 1.5 billion industry exists for things that are not “in use”!)  Unregulated means that makers (mostly China) can make them out of just about anything, and there are no import regulations.

Cheap adult sex toys are often made with phthalates to give them that soft flexible feeling. In 2008, Congress banned phthalates from toys and cosmetics. Phthalates are group of chemicals linked to breast cancer, low sperm counts and other health problems. Pretty much the last thing you want near your fun parts, judging by some of the research on sex toys.

What are the risks associated with the amount of exposure we get from sex toys?  This question straddles (yes, pun intended)  two issues we have trouble discussing openly–sex and the health risks posed by low dose exposure to chemicals in every day products. It is no surprise we don’t know our sex toys as well as we should. New Hampshire Public Radio did a terrific piece on this.

If you want to green up your toy chest, seek a sex-positive retailer, like Portland’s Nomia, who will answer all your questions and take orders over the phone. Babeland is also very good at educating their customers. Both of these retailers offer less toxic alternatives including glass toys and paraben & phthalate free lube. If you’re worried about phthalates, but don’t want to kick your rabbit habit just yet, you can always use a condom.

Find more easy-to-implement tips and information on lessening your day-to-day exposure to harmful contaminants at our Good Chemistry site.


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