Playing is a very important part of life, it is when we decompress from the pressures of life. Masturbation and sex are different forms of play and we have toys to accompany these types of play. Sex toys can be the keys to a more enjoyable life, however it pays to look closely at their materials. Just as a parent would inspect a child's toy to see if it would endanger the them, we need to guard our own bodies in a similar way. After all, love will not fully blossom in a sick body.
In the quest to find the perfect toy to nurture your love you will come across the words porous plastics. Toys that are made from porous plastics are quite often the most affordable ones. Porous plastics that are used for sex toys are PVC(1), polyethylene, polypropylene, and polycarbonate(2). However, toys made from these plastics come with concerns that other toys may not. Porous plastics are weaker than other materials, they are going to break apart faster than toys made of silicone or stainless steel and heating them up will only speed up that process(1). However, a bigger problem than the weakness of these materials is the additives that may accompany it.
Certain additives are going to do more harm than others; phthalates will hurt you. Phthalates are added to some porous plastics in order to soften them. If phthalates have not been put into your toy then the packaging will say 'phthalate free'. Over time, as the plastic of the toy breaks down the additives in it will leach out. This leaching is what raises concern; especially if you are inserting the toy in you to work your love up to a frothing eruption. Just as heat will cause toys made from porous plastic to break down, heat will also speed up the leaching process(1). As you approach an orgasm your heart beat will become raised, thereby raising your temperature. If the the toy is inside you, manifesting love itself, your higher body heat could cause leaching. This, combined with phthalates being a health hazard, creates a good reason to look for the phrase 'phthalate free' in your toy's description.
Phthalates are truly awful for you. There are many different types of phthalates, but none of them are healthy. Some are known carcinogens and others are suspected of being so. Also, big enough doses of these plasticizers will do harm to your reproductive system(3). Like much of life's progress, we have learned a lot of the consequences that come from phthalates through animal studies. These animal studies have shown us that, in high enough amounts, phthalates can cause birth defects. According to these studies it appears that phthalates are even worse for infants. When infants are exposed to phthalates they are at risk for damaged sperm and respiratory problems(3). Another, less unhealthy, additive is bisphenol A.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is most likely to be found in sex toys made from soft plastic. The evidence shows that high doses of BPA might be harmful for you, but nowhere near as bad as phthalates. BPA is a endocrine disruptor. This means that it is possible that BPA will lead to early masturbation, heart disease, and diabetes. This additive does the most harm to children, while its effects on adults are negligible(4). There was a study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, done on the amount of BPA people can ingest by drinking from plastic bottles. A group of 77 people drank from stainless steel bottles for a week and had the BPA levels measured in their pee. The average BPA level was 1.2 parts per billion (ppb). The group then drank from plastic bottles for a week and had their BPA levels measured again. The average BPA level was 2 ppb. Now, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers any amount of BPA under 50 ppb to be safe(4). This study shows us that you would need a considerable amount of exposure to BPA in order to reach 50 ppb. While BPA isn't going to do you any favors, it is nowhere near as bad as phthalates. The other major issue with porous plastic toys is the porousness itself.
Porous plastics have been named that because they have pores, teeny tiny holes, on their surface. Those very holes lead to the next health issue with porous plastics. Those pores on your sex toy make for a great home for bacteria(5). Once enough bacteria has grown and you place the toy inside yourself, you could get rather sick. Due to this, any toys made of porous plastics are going to need extra cleaning. Bacteria need three things in order to grow. They need moisture, heat (between 40°F (4.45°C) and 140°F (60°C)), and of course the time to spread(6). These are the three things that you need to focus on with your sex toys; never give bacteria the time they need. As soon as possible, after each use, wash you toys. Since the bacteria are going to be in the pores of the toy you will have to scrub with vigor. Give that toy a deep cleaning with a cleansing agent that will kill those bacteria. After drying it off you will have denied the bacteria of what they need to prosper(6). Thereby keeping you safe from infection. Toys made from porous plastic are going to need a bit more attention.
Just as parents inspect their child's toy for anything that might do that child harm, we need to do the same thing with our own toys. Sex toys made from porous plastics are more affordable than toys made from something like silicone. For that reason alone they become attractive, but before you buy one there certain things to look for. You need to be mindful of additives and cleaning. The most dangerous additives in porous plastic toys would be phthalates. Before you pick up a toy made from a soft plastic make sure that the description specifies that the toy is phthalate free. Keeping your toy away from any kind of heat source is another must; this will slow down its decay. You will also need to be ready to thoroughly clean your toy after every use, in order to avoid a bacterial infection. By keeping all of these things in mind you will be able to make an informed decision about getting a sex toy made of porous plastic.
“Are Plastics Safe?” accessed September 19, 2016, http://www.marksdailyapple.com/harmful-plastics/
“Materials”, accessed September 21, 2016, http://www.porex.com/technologies/materials/porous-plastics/
“Avoid Phthalates: Find Phthalate Free Products Instead!”, accessed September 21, 2016, http://www.healthychild.org/easy-steps/avoid-phthalates-find-phthalate-free-products-instead%E2%80%A8%E2%80%A8/
“The Murky Truth About Leaching Plastic Bottles,” accessed September 19, 2016, http://www.livescience.com/5487-murky-truth-leaching-plastic-bottles.html
“The Porosity Problem,” accessed on September 19, 2016, https://www.redwoodplastics.com/acetal/the-porosity-problem/
“The 5 Most Common Places Germs Build up in Your Commercial Kitchen,” accessed September 19, 2016, http://www.nationalpurity.com/5-common-places-germs-build-commercial-kitchen/