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Sex Products and Toxic Chemicals

Did you ever think about the things you put on your most sensitive areas? MADE SAFE knows that we have, so we believe it’s high time for the healthy sex talk.

Many people view sex as taboo, which makes it difficult to have open conversations about health and pleasure. While what happens in your bedroom is your business, we believe what is in the products you use in your bedroom is also MADE SAFE. Because conventional sexual health products can contain chemicals that can cause irritation or cancer, this is a problem. The vagina can absorb chemicals quickly without metabolizing them. This means that substances can enter the bloodstream and not be broken down first. The vagina is a significant route for exposure to potentially dangerous substances in sexual health products.

Let’s now talk about sex, sexual health products. We want you to make the best decisions.

Below are some examples of ingredients and substances. Here’s a list of ingredients and substances that you can find. You will also learn about health concerns associated with them. And how to search for safer alternatives.

Lubricants

Propylene Gellycol & Synthetic Glucerin: Petroleum-derived ingredients. While not all petrochemicals can cause harm to humans, these two ingredients can be harmful to the rectal, cervical and vaginal tissues. Propylene glycol is safe for certain uses, such as. Propylene glycol may be suitable for some uses (e.g. external personal care), but it is not recommended to be used internally.
Parabens: This group of preservatives is linked to breast cancer and other reproductive and developmental harm.
Other considerations in lube: Fragrance and flavor, siloxanes, silanes, and PEGs

Condoms

Nitrosamines Common compounds found in latex condoms and are associated with cancer. *
Flavor Terms like “artificial flavour” and similar umbrella terms can include mixtures of unidentified ingredients. It’s impossible for you to know what exposure you might be to without disclosure.
Other concerns regarding condoms: Siloxanes, silanes, petroleum derived glycerin

This does not mean that condoms should be stopped. A condom is better than a non-condom. Condoms that are Sustain certified are MADE SAFE(r). However, if you don’t have one, other condoms can be used to protect yourself against sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.

Sex Toys

  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC can be used to make vibrating toys for women.
  • Trimethyltin chloride: This chemical is used in the manufacture of plastics, especially PVC. Trimethyltin chloride has been identified as a reproductive danger. It is linked to irreversible neurological toxicities in the development process, learning disabilities and many other issues. Researchers determined that exposure to trimethyltin, a chemical in sex toys, was a risk to pregnant and nursing mothers. There was also a slight risk for neurological effects in adults.
  • Phthalates -Phthalates is a class of plasticizing chemical that makes plastics more flexible. Phthalates have been linked to many endocrine disruption outcomes.
  • Toluene Toluene, a petrochemical solvent that is linked to regenerative and developmental toxicity.

Sex Toy Cleaner

Isothiazolinone Preservations: Preservatives are preservatives that have been identified as irritants and sensitizers . They can also be associated with Contact Allergies. Methylisothiazolinone is a potential endocrine disruptor. They are most commonly found on labels as methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone.

Triclosan – Triclosan can be used as an antibacterial in conventional sex cleaners to kill germs. Triclosan can be associated with many effects that result from hormonal disruption.

Other concerns with sex cleaners: Fragrance, parabens

Wipes

  • Polyethylene Terephthalate:PET is the same material that’s used to make single-use beverages bottles. PET is not easily broken down in the environment. This contributes to plastic polluting our oceans, and waterways.
  • PEGS: PEGS stands for polyethylene glycol. It is made using ethylene oxide through a process called “ethoxylation”. Ethoxylation can lead to contamination by carcinogens 1,4­dioxane or ethylene oxide. These ingredients are identified on labels by the letters “PEG”, followed by a number (ex. PEG-40).
  • Siloxanes and Silanes:Siloxanes is a chemical group which forms the backbone of silicones. Silanes can be described as modified silicone compounds. The majority of siloxanes persist in the environment. Some ingredients from this group have been identified as endocrine disruptors. Research on siloxanes/silanes is lacking in many areas. These siloxanes and silanes are often listed on labels that include the suffixes “siloxanes”, or “dimethicone” (ex. amodimethicone).
  • Other concerns with wipes: Fragrance and parabens.

Feminine Washes

Fragrance “Fragrance”, an umbrella term that describes what can be from just a few ingredients to over 100, all combined to create a scent. Because fragrances are not often disclosed on labels, their identity can be considered a trade secret. Without this information, it is impossible to determine the extent to which your health might be affected by them.

FDA-Restricted Dyes: While some dyes are not approved for use with mucous membranes they can still be found in some feminine washes. D&C Red No. 33 and Ext. Violet #2.
Other concerns regarding feminine washes: Parabens and isothiazolinone-preservatives, EEGs

Tips for Safer Sexual Health Products

  • To avoid ingredients that are listed as a concern, read labels.
  • Avoid products that contain “fragrance” and “artificial flavour” on labels to avoid unidentified ingredients
  • Avoid flavored condoms as they can contain artificial flavorings that are not disclosed.
  • Natural is best when it comes to lubricants. This tip is not applicable to all product types, but it can be helpful when considering lubricants. Natural plant ingredients are often better for internal use.
  • Organic certified lubricants are available if a MADE SAFE (r) certified product is not available.
  • To protect the vaginal microbiome, you should look for nontoxic lubricants with a pH match.
  • Shop at trusted sources when you are shopping for sexual health products. If a retailer is proud to offer safe options, they are more likely have done product testing before the products hit the shelves.
  • You should look for sex toys that are 100 percent made from medical-grade silicone, high-grade borosilicate glass or medical-grade stainlesssteel. To avoid confusion, ensure that all these materials are clearly identified. You should only purchase sex toys that contain 100 percent of the disclosed materials (i.e. No vague terms such as “jelly” and “rubber”. Labels should contain 100 percent of one substance.
  • If you are unable to afford a healthier sexy toy made from the above materials, consider using a safer condom such as those by Sustain Natural over the toy.
  • Because the sex toys industry is known for mislabeling products, sometimes toys are labeled “silicone” and “body-safe”, when in fact they are not. Here are some tips to spot fraud.
  • Real silicone is opaque/cloudy and never visible.
  • If the toy leaves behind residue when it is touched, it isn’t silicone.
  • A toy with a strong chemical odor is not likely silicone. Silicone typically has no odor.
  • A product labeled “phthalate-free”, may not necessarily mean it is safer. The toy could also contain other toxic substances. These claims should not be trusted. Instead, follow our tips to find safer materials (remember, medical-grade silicone, stainless steel, borosilicate glasses, polished natural stone).
  • To avoid responsibility for the health effects associated with harmful sex toys, manufacturers often label products “for novelty only”. This is despite the fact that their design, packaging language and location of sale strongly suggest that they will be used internally for sexual pleasure or health. Look for products that are specifically designed to be used internally.
  • Use nontoxic cleaning methods to clean sex toys. To choose the best cleaning method, follow all manufacturer’s instructions. Many toys can be safely boiled for 5-10 mins, then run through the dishwasher’s top rack with nontoxic detergent or washed with safer soap. Disinfectants such as triclosan or harsh cleansers are not usually necessary.
  • Healthy vaginas can “self-cleanse” and keep bacteria in balance without the need for any help. Natural cervical fluid is the most common form of discharge in healthy vaginas. This is because cervical fluid fluctuates throughout menstrual cycles and can be misinterpreted as a health problem. However, in healthy women, it is usually just the body reacting to hormone changes.
  • Douching, feminine sprays, soaps, and shampoos are usually unnecessary.
  • Douching and feminine washes are not recommended. They can also be detrimental to your vaginal health. Many health organizations do not recommend doing any kind of double-dipping, except in cases where it is recommended. A little soap can be used externally, but it is not recommended for internal cleaning. Remember to stop using any product that causes irritation.
  • Consult your doctor if you have concerns about a health problem.
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