What was I thinking when I got *those* toys?
As a naive consumer a mere 3-4 years ago I bought a plethora of toys varying in their quality; in some cases, they were just plain dubious. I should not have bought them. I’ve also received items for testing. I agreed to test those items. Now I go through my collection of plain brown cardboard boxes (yes, I still have some of those!). And I find freaky looking things like:
- A floppy penis extender, made from TPR.
- A crystal jellies ribbed anal starter dildo, made from PVC. The bright pink colour is now faded, ugh. Even more worrying, the packaging says that the toy contains Sil-A-Gel formula, and I’m thinking Sil-A-WTF?! I will say more about this dubious component later, but safe to say, it doesn’t sit well with me. Pardon the pun, here!
- A tacky skinny purple G-spot vibe that takes 2 AAA batteries. It is made from TPR and ABS plastic. The insertable part is TPR.
- a ‘realistic’ 7-inch extra-girthy dildo, that resembles the cock of a non-green Hulk. Made from some rubbery feeling god-awful stuff. I didn’t keep the packaging so I’m not quite sure.
- Various ‘silicone’ vibrators that are manufactured in China so I am not sure they are actually pure silicone. A flame-test would ascertain whether they are bona-fide or not. I just haven’t gotten round to holding a match to any of these toys yet…
What is body-safe versus toxic anyway?
‘Body-safe’ materials include inert non-reactive components such as:
- platinum-cured, medical-grade silicone.
- Borosilicate glass.
- Metals such as aluminium and titanium.
Toys that contain TPR, PVC, weird antibacterial additives (for example, Sil-A-Gel), generic ‘silicone’ and those pesky phthalates are NOT strictly body-safe. Despite the claims of the manufacturers! Because they also claim, that the items are sold as novelties only, and so any medical claims are unfounded.
Sex toys are not regulated by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration, MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) or other governing organisation. So this means that unstable or reactive components may be used in the manufacturing process. Take for example Phthalates. These are, according to the FDA:
a group of chemicals used in hundreds of products, such as toys, vinyl flooring, detergents, lubricating oils, food packaging, pharmaceuticals, blood bags and tubing, and personal care products, such as nail polish, hair sprays, aftershave lotions…
Say what?! Why would Phthalates be put into sex toys anyway?
Now if that didn’t already set off alarm bells in your head, (hello, putting a component of engine oil somewhere sensitive and that is a permeable entrance to the rest of your body), then maybe the following will! Dibutylphthalate (DBP) is a plasticiser that was used in nail polishes to reduce cracking. Dimethylphthalate (DMP) was used in hair sprays to help them form a flexible film on hair. The FDA say that these two phthalates are now rarely used. But that does not mean to say they are no longer used at all. Nor does it mean that other potentially harmful phthalates / other chemicals are not used in manufacturing.
Phthalates have been used in toys because it helps them remain flexible and resistant to cracking. The bad news is that phthalates are not chemically bound to the plastics they’re added to, so they can ‘leach’ out. Which is why you are advised to take your microwave meal out of the plastic tray it was packaged in, before heating in the microwave. They are odourless, and the risk they pose to human health includes (but is not necessarily limited to) liver, kidney, lung and reproductive system damage.
The Guardian reported in 2015 that:
While phthalates are a huge class of chemicals and nowhere near every chemical in the class has been studied, several have been shown to have negative health impacts…Enough distinct phthalates have been studied to indicate that companies should proceed with caution when using any chemical in the phthalate class, particularly in products for pregnant women or young children, whom the research has indicated are the most vulnerable to the effects of phthalates.
Education for dildo-diddlers
This is scary reading. But I don’t wish to tell my readers what materials they should or should not use. I still *occasionally* (like once every six months) use products that contain things like parabens. These are the chemicals reported to increase cancer risk. They are “preservatives that have been identified as ‘estrogenic’ and disruptive of normal hormone function.” Parabens are found in a range of cosmetic items.
I mainly tell you this information so that you can consider what you are putting into your body when you indulge in a bit of self-love. That way, you can decide for yourself if you wish to forego the risks and jump into bed with your TPR / ‘Phthalate-free’ PVC dong.
What about Sil-A-Gel?
Before I forget, let me get back to that weird additive, Sil-a-Gel, which I have no idea of in terms of its chemical composition. Some Googling lead me to discover that this additive, that is supposedly anti-bacterial is a proprietary constituent made by Doc Johnson:
Sil-A-Gel is “added into our material in the raw mixing phase so that the anti-bacterial agents are actually engrained into the product and will not wash away with use. Sil-A-Gel helps stop the spread of unwanted and potentially bad bacteria forming on your favorite products.”
If you look at the source of this extract, you will find it comes from Dangerous Lilly’s 2014 blog post on Sex Toy Material Guides. Her advice is to basically avoid any toy containing Sil-A-Gel. If you search further on her blog you will find out why. It caused irritation to sensitive parts on a sex-toy user.
Now I don’t know about you, but if I’m using a sex toy, I do not expect to feel unpleasant irritation. You may ask why I’ve held onto these toys for so long. I ask myself the same question. But then I remember, it’s so I can take them out periodically and remind myself why these toys are just plain yucky!
These toys will remain banished to a brown box, until sometime when I see fit to just toss them out. For now they are my sex toy ‘museum of horrors.’