Over the last year I have found out that this is not always the case. The word “phthalate” was popping up a lot and my curiosity got the better of me. I decided to check this out. What I have discovered really surprised me. See these pictures? These are my jelly sex toys. I have been keeping them in a cardboard box under my bed for the last 4/6 weeks in the name of science, and to show you why I will never use a jelly toy again.
So what are phthalates?
Phthalates are chemicals. They are better known as plasticizers and they are added to hard, brittle plastics and rubber to soften the material. This gives jelly toys that soft, squidgy feel. The problem is that phthalates don’t bond with the material they are mixed with and over time these chemicals leach from the product.
You know when you purchase a jelly toy and remove it from its packaging and the first thing that makes your eyes roll into the back of your head is the overwhelming smell? This is called ‘off gassing’ and is caused by phthalates and other nasty chemicals leeching from the toy while it has been sitting in its packaging. Have you ever noticed your jelly toys seem to sweat or produce an oily, wet residue on the surface? These are chemicals leeching from the toy. You may have even discovered that your toys have melted together (much like mine have in the pictures) and wonder why this has happened. It happens because the toys are touching one another and the chemicals have leeched to the surface, reacted with the other toy and started to melt or bond the two toys together. Sexy right?
Are phthalates dangerous?
See, these chemicals are not only smelly they are potentially hazardous to your health. Phthalate studies in animals have shown them to cause cancer, birth defects, and effect sperm production. Clearly there has been enough evidence surrounding the dangers of phthalate use that in some parts of the world these chemicals have been banned from use in childrens toys. Why? Because children put toys into their mouths and possible links to respiratory illness and asthma have been found. I have read stories from people who have suffered burning sensations, swelling and irritations using jelly sex toys. I was one of those people and I never put two and two together until I did my research.
Jelly toys are also porous, so not only do they leech chemicals they also soak in chemicals, bacteria and viruses which could infect you with all kinds of nasty stuff. It is impossible to completely sterilize them. All you can do to help protect yourself from the dangers are to use a condom every time and to not share your toys with your partners.
Why are phthalates used in sex toys if they are potentially dangerous:
There are a few reasons. First of all there have not been enough studies done in humans and without this evidence it is hard to convince the people who matter to act. Secondly, the sex toy industry is not regulated in the same way as the childrens toy industry. Manufacturers do not have to tell you what materials were used in the production of their toys and they can even bend the truth or outright lie without getting into trouble. Toys made with as little as 10% silicone can be advertised as a silicone product. What makes up the other 90%? To add insult to injury, some manufacturers trademark names for their materials. This doesn’t tell you much at all and finding out what it is made from exactly is a pain.
I personally refuse to use toys containing questionable chemicals and I am not the only one. I am no expert but I feel that not enough is being done to study and remove toxic chemicals from our sex toys. I would rather spend the extra money and purchase a quality product from a reputable manufacturer. Materials like pure silicone, glass and metal. There are many reputable manufacturers springing up who label their products in detail, who will tell you whether their toy is phthalate free, non porous and body safe. The best place to find information is to read reviews and do some research before you purchase.
If your sex toy can sit in a drawer or a box just like mine have, and melt. Do you really want to insert that into your body?