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Detecting Toxic Toys

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by thepleasurechest

Dildo sex toys are pictured during the 14th "Venus" erotic fair in Berlin

Yesterday, Bitch Media ran a piece about the lack of government regulation in the sex toy industry and how this leads to the sale of sex toys made with potentially toxic chemicals. Unfortunately, this is a real problem – one that’s old news for us. Sex toys are not regulated by the FDA, and many of them are made with phthalates: plastic-softening chemicals that have been linked to all kinds of icky health problems.

Luckily, there are ways to avoid toys with phthalates. The article mentions using a flame test – lighting a match and holding it against your toy – to determine whether a toy is 100% silicone or not. Silicone toys are non-porous, hypoallergenic, and phthalate free, which makes them totally awesome, and most silicones won’t melt when you hold a match up to them. Still, this isn’t the best solution, since a) not all phthalate free toys are silicone and b) you’d probably rather find out whether your toy is safe *before* you buy it, take it home, and set it on fire.

Instead, here are a few of our tips for buying a body-safe toy.

1) Read up on materials before you buy. This is a good place to start, but it isn’t foolproof, since manufacturers aren’t required to list exactly what’s in each toy. (So, you could buy a toy that’s labeled “silicone” and which is, in fact, only 10% silicone and 90% pure evil.)

2) Do a smell test. The best way to tell if a toy has harmful chemicals is to sniff it. Toys with phthalates will smell kind of cough syrupy, like your plastic toys used to when you were a kid. (Phthalates are now illegal to use in children’s toys, which tells you something.) Even a faint, baby powdery smell tells you that there’s something to be wary of. The most body-friendly toys won’t smell like anything.

3) Ask one of us! The Pleasure Chest staff are a bunch of toy safety nerds, and we can point you toward several brands who make durable, totally safe, high quality products.

5 Comments

  • catt

    So are you saying that Pleasure Chest stores dont carry toxic toys or that you do and its up to us to wonder if what we bought is going to hurt us?

    ReplyNovember 22, 2013 at 3:45 pm

  • Kate M.

    We carry a wide range of products, many of which are definitely hypoallergenic and some of which are not. We maintain a rigorous training and testing program for our staff, which covers toy materials, and we’re always happy to answer product questions and offer information, either in the store or over the phone. We also list each toy’s materials on our website.

    While we have been changing our inventory to include a huge selection of non-porous, hypoallergenic toys, we also have a lot of people coming to us for gag gifts or TV, film and theater props, and we better serve those people by continuing to sell $20 PVC toys, since that’s what they’re looking for.

    ReplyNovember 22, 2013 at 5:30 pm

  • Anon & Mouse

    We never really though of these toys as being potentially dangerous. Great article and thanks for bringing it up! Many of our toys are “glass”, which we assume isn’t an issue but the others . . . hm, we’ll have to check and maybe shop for replacements!

    adultplayblog.com

    ReplyNovember 22, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    • Kate M.

      Glass is absolutely fantastic.

      November 25, 2013 at 10:49 am

  • Sarah Sloane

    Also, all PC staff will tell you exactly what materials your toy selections are made from, and how to take care of it correctly (often before you even get to the counter!). Our job is to make sure you know what all your options are so that you can pick the item that’s ideal for your needs :)

    ReplyNovember 24, 2013 at 6:00 pm

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