Bil Browning

Death By Dildo?

Filed By Bil Browning | July 06, 2011 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Germany, Green Party, phthalates, plastic dildos

The German Green Party is demanding that the country's government protect consumer health. No, it's not air pollution or nuclear waste they're concerned about; it's dildo-display.jpgthe amount of toxic plastics found in most sex toys.

10 Green Party members of the German parliament, the Bundestag, are demanding that the government take action. They have drawn up a paper entitled "Sexual Health as a Consumer Protection Issue."

"Many dildos and other sex toys such as vibrators and anal plugs contain a high amount of phthalates, other carcinogenic plasticizers and toxic substances," the paper reads. The substances, which enter the body through mucous membranes, can lead to infertility, hormone imbalances, diabetes and obesity, the parliamentarians warn. The chemicals can also cause hormone disturbances in unborn babies, the paper reads. Phthalates and other plastic softening agents are being officially phased out of products in many developed nations.

Because dildos and other sex toys are widely used in Germany, the Greens see the issue as a problem for society as a whole. While children's toys are subject to strict regulations that allow only the smallest percentage of plasticizers, a 2006 study by the Öko-Test consumer magazine found that sex toys contain high quantities of the chemicals. Plasticizers comprised up to 58 percent of materials used in such products, the magazine wrote. More than half of the vibrators examined by Öko-Test contained so many toxic substances that they failed the test entirely, it said.

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Om Kalthoum | July 6, 2011 12:30 PM

Oh, those wacky Germans!

Put a condom on it? (Sung to the tune of, "Put a ring on it").

So does this mean we have to recycle our dildos in Germany?
Interesting recycle bin pick-up on Thursdays to say the least.

along similar lines, washington state had a major "masturbate on camera" online businesses, and when the "dildo cam" was introduced into the business, the workers had to call in washington labor and industries because of the health issues - and you have to know that that must have led to some interesting office meetings before a ruling could be issued.

not to mention the whole "so how was your day at work, honey?" thing...

Jaime Dunaway Jaime Dunaway | July 6, 2011 1:12 PM

so, before any sexual act with a new partner, even an inanimate one, have them get tested.

There were several times in my life when I thought I might experience death by d...but in a totally different way. :)

Wintersong | July 7, 2011 1:30 PM

I'm conflicted here because I think it's great that you've covered this issue here, but disappointed that you basically played it for laughs.

The fact that German culture and government is sex-positive enough to actively take a role in protecting its citizens health around the use of sex toys is a wonderful thing, and certainly casts a harsh light on our generally sex-negative political culture in the U.S. Chemical content of toys is hardly an unknown concern here and represents one reason that there has been a growing shift in the American sex toy market towards high quality glass, metal, and even carved stone dildos. Although, aesthetics of course represent another reason to to sure.

Sex toys are an exploding industry in this country as societal views on their use have radically shifted towards acceptance, as the NYTimes discussed here and here. Toxic chemicals in toys meant to intact with delicate mucosal tissue, which has a high rate of absorption certainly represent a public health risk. You could have used this essay as an example of how a more sex-positive culture is better equipped to look after the very real health concerns inherent in adult life. A parallel to abstinence only education and both teen pregnancy and HIV/STI risks would have been a no-brainer by the way.

I hope this post just represents an off-day for you Bill. If not, you might want to examine your own biases when it comes to matters of sexual freedom and expression.