With the sex toy industry worth billions each year, knowing what you're buying as a consumer is ever challenging. With no regulation of the industry and only a handful of manufacturers actually self-regulating, it's becoming more and more difficult to establish what's actually in your vibrator or sex toy.
Your probably wondering why you should be worried, Sex toys been around for years they must be safe.
Well let's look at phthalates; these are softeners that are used in the production of sex toys, in recent years, testing has revealed the potentially serious impacts of phthalates on the body. Studies on rats and mice suggest that exposure could cause cancer and damage the reproductive system, to mention just a few.
The simple fact is, that many companies use harmful Phthalates, as they are cheap and easy to work with, The reality is they simple are not needed, One body-safe option which is already readily available is silicone, For manufacturers the issues with silicone is that often mass production is not possible, meaning smaller product runs, more expense and less profit. Silicone sex toys are also a more expensive option for the consumer, with the current average price for a medical grade silicone vibrator at around £90, and with many unaware of what goes into those cheaper jelly toys, the cycle continues.
Self-regulation of the industry does exist though; Erotic-toy manufacturer Tantus is just one of them. They produce silicone sex toys that are well regarded amongst those in the know, with many bloggers, and sex toy reviewers championing these products for a while, attitudes seem to be on the change.
With the sex toy industry becoming more and more main stream each year, and with consumers more comfortable with using sex toys and vibrators, It really is a matter of time before the lid is blown off, the shady manufacturers that hind behind "Not intended for intimate use", and "adult novelty product", Allowing the less scrupulous manufacturers to avoid responsibility for potentially harmful materials, and to evade government regulation.
Many adult web sites and retailers are getting behind the need for consumers to know what they are buying, making the products they sell easy to understand by listing materials, and some going as far as stocking almost all silicone, to ensure they sell safe toys.
Naomi Nash MD of Innocent sex toys is well aware of the health risks of phthalates, "Trying to maintain an online store that carries a good range of well-priced products is a real challenge, many of the big brand manufacturers are vague about the materials they use, or will rename them in an effort to hide what's in them. We are ensuring that any new products we stock are made only from silicone, this allows us control over potentially harmful phthalates which may be hiding."
Body-Safe silicone, Glass and Metal seem to be the way forward for intimate products, and with many self-regulating the word on phthalates seems to be, that if you're not sure or it's not clearly labeled stay clear, and stay safe.