Sex Toys and Phthalates: What’s Going On With These Phthalate Things?

Woman Wondering

Photo Credit: iStock

Phthalates, and plastics as a whole, are the subject of controversy today. Phthalates, in general, are any of the agents known as “plasticizers.” They’re used to make your plastic softer, more flexible, and more durable. In relation to sex toys, it’s obvious why that would be handy. A looming concern today, though, is the detrimental effects these phthalates might have on your reproductive system, and hormones.

Is There Any Science to the Concern?

Phthalate Compound

Photo Credit: Wikipedia.

For you Chemistry buffs out there, phthalates fall within the Ester Functional Group. They’re also members of a group of chemicals called “endocrine disruptors,” a collection of chemicals that act like hormones in the body, or disrupt others. One concern of phthalates is the ease with which they are released into the environment (or you), since the bond between them and the plastic they’re in is weak. The actual science on the health affects is mixed though.

In 2009, the United States passed a ban on phthalates in the production of children’s toys. The ban was criticized by scientists as unfounded, and a result of public pressure. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there was no risk to children (ibid). While I generally take federal commissions with a self interested grain of salt, I found the history of this case slightly believable.

The CPSC cites that on two previous occasions, over the span of 25 years (ibid), they did find valid concern with some specific compounds, and companies voluntarily removed those agents from their products. While studies on rodents, with today’s compounds, point to reproductive complications, a 2003 study by the CPSC drew the conclusion that children would have to chew these plastics for 75 mins a day to be at risk.

We’re On the Side of Caution

Generally concerned with women’s health issues in any aspect of life, at Sex and Cupcakes, we prefer to err on the side of caution, which is why all of our toys are phthalate free.

There is still evidence out there that phthalates are directly related to low birth weights, and pre-term births. The results in the former study showing that “phthalate exposure was ubiquitous” in those newborns born underweight. It’s also linked to the impairment of testicular function (for you men out there!), and decreased Anogenital Distance at birth (the distance from your anus to genitals), which carries its own implications of other developmental impairment, including prenatal development of the brain (ibid).

Like all studies, and most science, you can find ways to build a strong case for your issue, or poke holes in it. Aside from the health concerns, we’ve found that the manufacturers producing phthalate free sex toys take more care in their design, and build better, more satisfying toys! That in and of itself is a strong enough reason for us to only carry those toys.

The health issues are definitely a concern though, and we think it’s something you should be aware of, not just for your plastics, but your makeup, and health care products as well. Keep an eye out, and be an informed consumer!

What Should You Do Next?

  • Definitely browse through our collection of phthalate free adult toys!
  • You can also go back to the Home Page to see what else is new.
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