When reading sex toy reviewsyou will often see the term “Phthalate Free.”
Most reputable manufactures of sexual aids do not produce products with phthalates or at least label their products well enough to let consumers know what they are getting.
Most reputable large retailers of sex toys don’t carry products with phthalates or offer information as to what toys do contain phthalate esters.
In general this means that if you are a sex toy lover and like to read reviews, then purchase your toys through the recommended retailers that the reviewers are working with you will be pretty safe from phthalates.
So what is the big deal?
Phthalates (pronounced “thay-lates” in the US and “thall-ates” in other places) are esters of phthalic acid and are mainly used as plasticizers to increase flexibility, transparency and durability in in plastics.
They are used primarily to soften PVC products. (polyvinyl chloride)
Jelly rubber is one of the big culprits here.
Jelly rubber sex toys are extremely popular because they are lower in cost than many other toys, pleasing to touch, and are often semi transparent which is good for visual appeal.
The word “phthalate” derives from phthalic acid.
Because phthalate plasticizers do not chemically bind to PVC they easily leach and evaporate into food or the atmosphere. As the plastics age and break down, the release of phthalates accelerates.
Only the low-molecular-weight phthalates such as DEP (Diethyl phthalate), DBP (Dibutyl phthalate), BBzP (Benzyl butyl phthalate)may be dermally absorbed.
Exposure to phthalates can be through direct contact of products containing these esters.
Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate and Diisononyl phthalate (DINP)are the most commonly used phthalate plasticizers for sex toys. These phthalate plasticizers can be absorbed easily through the mouth, anus, and vagina. In Europe the use of these phthalate plasticizers are banned, but in other places (including the USA) manufacturers are free to produce products containing these plasticizers.
Most companies have voluntarily stopped using these esters of phthalic acid in producing their products, but not all.
What are the dangers you face when using a sex toythat isn’t “Phthalate Free?”
Nobody really knows yet.
It is suspected that at certain levels phthalate plasticizers can cause hormonal disruption in humans and may lead to liver, lung, and kidney damage among other things.
Multiple studies have shown that high doses change hormone levels and cause birth defects.
REFERENCE: Survey and health assesment of chemicals substances in sex toys from Danish Environmental Protection Agency.
Though research suggests phthalates have a toxic effect on humans it has not proven to what extent or at what levels.
It is not possible to be “Phthalate Free” in the modern world.
Phthalates are used in most PVC formulations with no labeling requirements so consumers can be aware.
Phthalates are used in medicines as inactive ingredients.
Vinyl floors, siding, PVC pipes, car seats, electronic casings, pleather (plastic leather) are all huge contributors to contact with phthalates.
You will come in contact and you have been exposed.
Should you care then about phthalates when it comes to your sex toys?
In the end it all comes down to making choices.
Phthalates in your sex toys are certainly less harmful than say smoking cigarettes or eating foods with high levels of Sodium Nitrate.
For myself – Better safe than sorry is the way I figure it.