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Buying Guides - Remember the F word, a guide to Phthalates and Sex Toys

The science bit
Over recent years, there have been a number of detrimental reports on the alleged health effects caused by phthalates. As a result, a number of children’s’ toy manufacturers, including Mattel and Disney, have banned the use of phthalates in the making of their products which in turn has led to phthalates receiving even more adverse attention in the media.

If you've read some of the more sensational headlines, you could be forgiven for being worried about the use of phthalates in the making of some sex toys! But when you look at the research behind the headlines, it's not quite that simple - or scary…

In fact, after extensive testing, the European Union's Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment (CSTEE) has said that it does not believe phthalates pose an immediate or serious risk to consumers. And a further study carried out by the US Centre For Disease Control has demonstrated that there is no evidence to suggest there are any direct links between the phthalates present in some sex toy materials and any detrimental health effects on humans.

So while phthalates may sound scary (even pronouncing the word is hard), it's important to not get overwhelmed by a sense of hysteria. All of our sex toys are safe, and we would never sell you anything that could be detrimental to your sexual health. We do believe however that it’s equally as important for you to understand how phthalates are used in the making of some of our toys so that you can make your own informed decision about the sex toy materials you purchase. So read on…

What are phthalates?
Pronounced 'thalates' (the 'ph' is silent), phthalates are colourless oil-like chemicals used in the manufacturing industry to increase the flexibility, transparency, durability and longevity of some plastic and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products. Derived from phthalic acid, and often called a plasticizer for its plastic-softening properties, phthalates have been in use since the 1920s and have been added to everything from perfumes and pesticides to medical instruments and sex toys.

Many vibrators, dildos and “love dolls,” for example — especially the soft, pliable “jelly” type — are made from some form of plastic. Jelly has been used in sex toy manufacturing for decades and with good reason: it’s inexpensive, it’s colourful and its soft texture and feel make playing with jelly toys loads of fun! Jelly vibes and toys also tend to be a lot warmer to the touch than some other materials and can be quite nice at nearly half the price of their silicone sisters. In an effort to make this jelly material softer and more lifelike however, manufacturers may add rubber softeners such as phthalates to their toys. Some realistic or “real feel” materials such as Cyberskin may also contain rubber softeners such as phthalates.

So how does this affect you?
There is no hard scientific data available at present to show that phthalates in sex toys pose a risk to human health. So you can be assured that toys made from jelly and other “real feel” materials, even if softened by the use of phthalates, are safe to buy and use! In fact, the risk of contracting a health defect due to the presence of phthalates in some of our sex toys is much less than the risk of contracting an infection from using an unwashed sex toy, or an STI from sharing your sex toys, or even a heart attack brought on by the excitement of using our sex toys!

Rest assured that we're keeping an eye on this situation though and will keep you informed of any further developments. In the meantime, we’re doing our best to make our product descriptions as detailed as possible so that you know what you're buying when you make a purchase from our website. We’re also striving to inform you of exactly what material each toy we sell is made from and whether it is guaranteed to be free of toxins, latex, and/or phthalates.

The final word
If you're concerned about the use of phthalates in the making of any of our toys however, we suggest that each time you use a toy that contains rubbers softeners or phthalates, you slip a condom over the top of it. For safer play and easier clean up, a condom will provide a barrier between you and your toy and condoms are an absolute MUST if you’re sharing your toys between partners. This way, you can give yourself peace of mind, protect yourself from STIs AND still enjoy your favourite sex toy!

And if you're still concerned about the effects of phthalates, we suggest you buy a sex toy made from silicone, elastomer, skin-safe rubber, glass or metal for your ultimate peace of mind.

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