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Why You Should Avoid Sex Toys That Contain Phthalates

Phthalates (pronounced thal-ates) are considered toxic plasticizers that are used to soften PVC vinyls used to make some sex toys. If chemical softeners are not added to vinyls they remain a very hard PVC plastic. Phthalates can be found in cosmetics, fragrances (such as perfume, air fresheners and scented candles), ink and many other products. One of the most common toxic additives is DEHP, a phthalate that is a suspected carcinogen and reproductive toxicant readily found in numerous PVC products.

Research on Phthalates

Because phthalate molecules are not chemically bound to the plastics they soften they can break free from plastic easily and cause the products they are in to deteriorate over time. This means that exposure to phthalates is quite easy when handling products let along putting them in your body.

In 2012, researchers from Uppsala University found that there is risk of developing Type-2 Diabetes when exposed to phthalates found in cosmetics and plastics even when only exposed to small amounts. The study showed that just a modest increase in phthalate exposure increased the chance of developing diabetes by double.

Other studies have reported that phthalates may mimic the female hormone estrogen. In addition, phthalates are able to disrupt the human hormonal system, diminish fertility and adversely affect the kidneys and liver.

In 1999, the federal government measured dioxins in blood samples taken from 28 residents who lived near PVC facilities in Louisiana. The testing revealed the average resident has three times more dioxin in his/her blood than the average US citizen. Workers at PVC plants may face lifelong health risks from exposure to cancer-causing vinyl chloride and other hazardous chemicals used to make PVC. These health risks include angiosarcoma of the liver, lung cancer, brain cancer, lymphomas, leukemia, and liver cirrhosis. When heated in a fire, PVC releases toxic hydrogen chloride gas, forming deadly hydrochloric acid when inhaled.

A report from the Dutch Environmental Protection Agency reported the following-

"There is serious concern that certain intensive medical treatments of male infants may result in DEHP exposures levels that affect development of the male reproductive tract." "There is concern for adverse effects on development of the reproductive tract in male offspring of pregnant and breastfeeding women undergoing certain medical procedures that may result in exposure to high levels of DEHP."

Many adult sex toys contain the same toxic substances that the European Union banned from use in children's toys. Greenpeace tested some of the toys and found that seven of the eight sex toys it had tested contained between 24 and 51 percent of phthalates. So why would sex toy manufacturers consider using phthalates? Often times it is because it is inexpensive and they are already set up to create the adult novelties in that manner. Banning phthalates would just mean that manufacturers would need to make nontoxic alternatives which is pretty easy to do. They just cost a little more.

Contaminating Recycling

PVC cannot be effectively recycled due to the many different toxic additives used to soften or stabilize PVC, which can contaminate the recycling batch. Most consumers do not know that a 3 in the recycle symbol indicates that the plastic is made of PVC, and therefore recycle those products, inadvertently rendering thousands of potentially recycled containers useless. In fact just one PVC bottle can contaminate a recycling load of 100,000 PET bottles. Recycling of PVC is negligible, with estimates ranging from 0.1% to 3% of postconsumer PVC waste being recycled.

What To Do Until They Are Properly Regulated?

The good news is that safer, cost-effective, alternatives to PVC are readily available for virtually every use. From safer plastics, to bio-based materials, there is a growing market replacing hazardous PVC products. A growing list of companies have committed to phase out PVC products and switch to safer, healthier products.

Until there is regulation, consumers have to rely on a few helpful sites, books and videos that educate you on these issues so that you can make good choices and protect yourself from harm.


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