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Sex Toys and Phthalates: Risky or Not?

By HERWriter
 
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Recently there’s been controversy surrounding sex toys made from certain materials. The materials in question are phthalates.

About.com wrote that phthalates are a family of chemicals used to soften hard plastics to make them more flexible. Phthalates are used in everything from perfumes and lipsticks to medical instruments and sex toys.

Phthalates aren’t bound to the plastics they soften. They can seep out and be absorbed through skin and mucous membranes. MSNBC reported that a 2004 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study looked at urine samples from 2,540 people and found phthalate metabolites in more than 75 percent of participants.

While there’s no cumulative buildup — phthalates are quickly metabolized and excreted — there’s differing opinions as to how this exposure affects humans.

That goes for phthalates-containing sex toy exposure, as well. There isn’t enough data because few studies exist. According to About.com, a recent Danish Environmental Protection Agency report said that using sex toys containing phthalates for one hour a day or less poses no health risks, unless you are pregnant or nursing.

Still other studies express concern ranging from mild to serious about phthalates as a whole. About.com wrote that there’s a growing body of research suggesting that phthalates have a toxic effect, particularly on male reproductive systems.

Most organizations agree phthalates pose some risk to health and reproduction, both directly and indirectly through environmental impact.

The American Chemistry Council, an industry lobbying group, believes that phthalates are safe. Its website stated that phthalates are among the most thoroughly studied family of compounds in the world, and have been reviewed by multiple regulatory bodies in the United States.

However the United States Congress recently banned certain phthalates in children's toys.

So a valid question is if children’s toys are protected, why not adult toys? The Bottom Line reported that one reason is that the sex toy industry is loosely regulated. Sex toys are legally labeled as novelty toys, meaning they aren’t intended for actual use.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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