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Why sex toys are 'safer' than kids' toys: study

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Why sex toys are 'safer' than kids' toys: study
Sex toys, pretty safe it turns out. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
16:47 CET+01:00
Fewer sex toys than children's toys contain toxic chemicals, a Swedish agency has found.

The Swedish Chemicals Agency said it had surveyed sex toys from 16 companies and found that only two percent contained dangerous chemicals.

It compared it to a survey in 2015, when the agency found dangerous chemical substances, including lead, in 15 percent of kids' toys – making children's toys more harmful than sex toys in terms of exposure to chemicals.

"We were surprised that we found less of those forbidden substances in sex toys than in other types of toys," Frida Ramström, an inspector of the agency, told The Local, but added that as the tested children's toys were mostly of low quality, they were "not statistically representative" for the entire market of kids' toys.

Among the 44 products investigated, one plastic dildo was found to contain chlorinated paraffins, which is suspected of causing cancer. 

Three of the examined sex toys, made of leather and bondage tape, contained phthalates, used as a plasticizer, at levels above 0.1 percent, the agency said.

Phthalates are not banned in sex toys, but are on the EU list of chemicals that are of "very high concern". It can affect the hormonal balance and cause infertility.

Ramström said tough European regulations over chemical substances in products was a reason behind the relative safety.

It is difficult to determine exactly why more children's toys contain dangerous chemicals, she said. But many are imported from Asia, making it more difficult to toughen demands over safety of the products.

"The lesson sort of is: to make materials without dangerous substances, the sex toy companies probably specify more to the manufacturer what substances should not be in the products," said Ramström.

"The key for Swedish companies is communication with the manufacturer and companies they buy from."

Interview by The Local's intern Christian Krug.

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