There are still no government regulations when it comes to sex toy materials. They are considered novelties by the FDA and not evaluated at all for safety. silicone sex toys
That means it is up to you to know what materials are dangerous and what to avoid. This usually means choosing a responsible retailer that only sells body-safe toys and isn’t out there to make as much money as possible.
Here are some of the consequences of using a toy with toxic chemicals:
- Blistering skin
- Carcinogen exposure
- Allergic reactions
- Bacteria Infections
Most dangerous materials are made from a mixture of many ingredients and it’s impossible to know what they are without an expensive lab test.
For this reason, it’s safer to just stick to safe materials rather than take risks on cheap materials you find in shady shops. But let’s explain how bad companies try to mislead customers by using material terms in a vague way.
Also called: TPE, TPR, PVC, Jelly, Elastomer, Skin-Safe Rubber
These materials are vague terms that could all be used to describe the same dildo. To understand how companies mislead people with labeling let’s go over some quick chemistry 101.
Categories of Rubber
Elastomer – The ultimate catch-all term for any rubber, including 100% skin safe silicone. It is the technical term used by chemists to describe rubber. There are two big sub-categories of elastomer: TPE and TPS.
TPE – TPE stands for thermoplastic elastomer. It just means any rubber that melts when it get hot, can be molded into a new shape, and then returns to its rubbery state when cool. Chemically speaking, TPEs have non-covalent bonds, which are broken by heat.
TPS – TPS stands for thermoset elastomer. This is the opposite of a TPE, and is created with chemical reactions that cause covalent bonds that can’t be broken by heat. A good example of a thermoset elastomer is 100% medical grade silicone.
When cooking up a toxic rubber dildo companies start from a number of base materials. These are a harder substrates that are heated up and then have other additives and plasticizers added to get the desired softness.
PVC – PVC is a common base ingredient used to make TPE sex toys. It is also known as vinyl and is found in cheap plastic around the house like light switches, plastic pipes, and plastic window frames. It is made from industrial grade salt (chlorine) and crude oil (carbon) giving it the name polyvinyl chloride, or (C2H3Cl)n. By itself it is a hard and opaque material that isn’t dangerous. But it needs to be softened to make sex toys and this requires toxic plasticizers like phthalates.
Polystyrene – Is another common plastic polymer that can take many forms including styrofoam, plastic cups, and DVD cases. It is made from Benzene and highly flammable. When used to make dildos plasticizers are added to make it soft and squishy.
Latex – Latex comes from trees and was the first type of rubber people used. It occasionally makes an appearance in sex toys, especially inflatable dildos. Oil from your body breaks down these toys over time and they won’t last long. There is also the risk for having a life-threatening allergic reaction. Latex is another material that is mixed in to make toys extra soft. It is the oldest type of rubber and was used until 1943 when synthetic rubbers were discovered. Latex can cause allergies which makes it one of the most deadly materials manufacturers use. If you have a latex allergy you really need to stick to safe sex toy materials from reputable companies.
Polyethylene – This is the most common type of plastic in the world and is used to make things like plastic bottles and plastic grocery bags. Chlorinated polyethylene can be crosslinked peroxidically to form an elastomer which is used in cable and rubber industry. There are many formations of this but it is most commonly two parts carbon and 4 parts hydrogen.
SBS – This means Styrene-butadiene-styrene and is a common type of TPE. It is soft and used to make electrical wires. It can be softened even more by using different types of oil additives. Another form of SBS is SEBS which is usually less shiny and holds its color longer.
EPDM – This is a type of synthetic rubber and stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber.