You might remember back in July when I took over the @Ireland Twitter account. I like so many others, was obsessed with creating loom bands. I even invited random strangers to come make them with me in different pubs around town. Well I'm sad to say we can no longer have nice things. Sorry.
At the weekend, the Independent published an article about a children's toy retailer, The Entertainer, who made the decision to pull loom band charms from their shelves when they tested positive for containing phthalates. A BBC Midlands show sent the charms off for testing and revealed that 40% of one charm was indeed made up of these toxic plastic softeners.
Good. I am glad that there is enough concern over phthalates that children's toy retailers are taking note and pulling those products. But why hasn't there been a similar uproar over phthalates in adult toys, which are widely used in the industry and are completely unregulated worldwide?
I've been banging on about this from the start. If they've banned the use of phthalates over .1% in children's toys out of fear they might put that toy in their mouths for a second, why not in adult toys which see much longer use in far more intimate areas of the body.
In 2006, one of my sex shop heroes, Smitten Kitten, sent some toys from the world's biggest manufacturers off to an independent consumer testing lab, and the results were shocking. 49% of one toy's entire make-up was DIDP or Diisodecyl phthalate which was later banned in children's toys in George Bush's 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.
Also in 2006 the Danish EPA released a study that also showed high levels of toxic substances including phthalates in 16 toys and fetish items.
So why aren't we talking about this? Please if, like me, you're a fan of sex toys and care about this issue, write to your favourite newpaper, blog, tv station, radio show, or podcast. Write to your local TD's. Bodysafe toys will not have a smell, so if you own a toy(s) that smells plasticy and gross, even if it says "Phthalate-free" on the packaging (labeling is unregulated too), chuck it out.
Or if you like a bit of a science project, you can cut them up and make yourself a "Toxic Toy Jar." Take out any batteries and be extra careful when disassembling anything with a vibrating component. Just use the soft, squishy bits. Throw the pieces into a mason jar. Over the next few months, you'll see them literally melt into eachother, because these plastic softeners make the toys molecularly unstable.
Even if you don't buy from me, please please please invest in a bodysafe option and research your toys before purchasing. Thank you.