Scientists have warned that sex toys can cause metabolic disorders like diabetes and even damage the nervous system.
According to the new research, Micro-plastic particles from numerous sources are ingested and absorbed into the bloodstream and can cause metabolic disorders such as diabetes.
They can also disrupt immune responses and damage the nervous system as well as reproductive and developmental systems.
Now, along with air pollution and contact with other plastics, a new source of contamination, sex toys, has been identified by scientists as a serious body and blood pollutant.
Researchers at Duke University and Appalachian State University are warning of the possible dangers after finding that sex toys also contain phthalates which can affect hormone levels and are present in concentrations that exceed US consumer warnings.
They looked at four types of currently available sex toys: anal toys, beads, dual vibrators, and external vibrators.
In order of most to least micro-and-nano-plastic release, results found that the anal toy released the most particles, followed by beads, dual vibrators and external vibrators.
Lead author, Dr Joana Sipe said:
“We assert that since the measured presence of phthalates in our small sample size exceeds the exposure limit for the same chemicals in the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulations in children’s toys, investigations into whether or not the risk scenarios are also similar in sex toys are prudent for public health protection.”
Opening plastic food packaging releases microplastics, as does preparing food on a plastic chopping board. Cooking with a Teflon-coated pan also coats your food in tiny plastic particles, while scientists said that 90% of all cosmetic products used in the bathroom contain microplastics.
Writing in the journal Risk Analysis, Dr Sipe and her team noted that raising awareness of safety issues concerning sex toys has been led by self-assembled consumer and industry groups, ‘potentially due to the societally taboo nature of the products’. They wrote:
“Popular culture articles, sex toy critics and sex shops have raised awareness of chemical hazards, and healthcare professionals have called for educating consumers about preventable physical injuries associated with poorly designed sex toys.
Legal scholars have brought attention to the absence of regulatory action by the US federal government to address these risks and have called upon consumer action groups – and even the US Congress – to step in and demand protective action, but have so far gained little traction.”
The findings will be discussed at the 2023 Society for Risk Analysis Annual Conference in Washington DC next month, shortly after world leaders were accused of showing ‘zero ambition’ to protect human health at the Global Plastics Treaty talks in Kenya.