If you bring sex toys into the bed they could pose a health risk (Picture: Getty)
Sex toys are adding to the amount of dangerous plastic particles in our bodies, scientists have revealed.
Microplastic 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.
The team 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.
Scientists tested a variety of sex toys (Picture: Getty/iStockphoto)
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.’
Microplastics in the home
Unfortunately, microplastics are everywhere, even in our homes.
Been shopping? Opening plastic food packaging releases microplastics, as does preparing food on a plastic chopping board.
Cooking with a Teflon-coated pan? It will also coat your food in tiny plastic particles.
In the bathroom, 90% of all cosmetic products contain microplastics.
Splashing out on a new carpet? It could double the number of microplastic fibres in your home.
And don’t forget your clothes, which are full of them.
Overall, studies show we consume or inhale a credit card’s weight in plastic each week.
Writing in the journal Risk Analysis, Dr Sipe and her team note 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’.
‘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,’ they wrote.
‘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.’
Microplastics are found throughout the environment (Picture: Getty)
The findings will be discussed at the 2023 Society for Risk Analysis Annual Conference in Washington DC next month, shortly …read more