Dangerous chemicals in sex toys?

Managers at a handful of Edmonton stores that sell plastic adult sex toys say they had already removed items containing a controversial chemical, even before a Toronto MP called on the federal health minister to regulate the industry over health concerns.

EDMONTON — Managers at a handful of Edmonton stores that sell plastic adult sex toys say they had already removed items containing a controversial chemical, even before a Toronto MP called on the federal health minister to regulate the industry over health concerns.

Liberal MP, Carolyn Bennett, has sent a letter to Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, outlining her concerns about toys made with bisphenol A and phthalates which are used to make plastic toys soft and flexible.

Dozens of studies have shown the chemicals cause hormonal complications at a certain level of exposure.

Sandy Keeler, owner of Alluring Intimates, heard similar health concerns last year.

She immediately surveyed her inventory of sex toys and found that approximately 15 per cent of them contained such chemicals, which were mostly found in toys made out of a jelly-like substance.

Keeler said she wasted no time returning the products to the distributor.

Manufacturers of about 95 per cent of the toys she now receives put labels on the packaging that say the items are made without phthalates, but it still hasn’t satisfied all her customers’ concerns.

“More and more people are getting into these toys,” said Keller. “You want to make sure it’s as healthy for you as it possibly can be.”

Federal regulations already prevent bisphenol A from being used in baby bottles and phthalates can’t be used in toys that go into children’s mouths, but so far there aren’t any rules preventing their use in sex toys.

Edith Johnson, assistant manager at Edmonton’s Hush Adult Megastore, said the health and cleanliness of the store’s toys is always a top priority.

Any product that would put customers at risk of health complications should have a hard time making its way onto store shelves, she said. Johnson is in favour of taking steps to regular the adult sex toy industry.

“We want to make sure the health of the customer comes first,” she said.

Staff at other sex toy stores in Edmonton say their shops have also opted to carry phthalate-free toys, but they declined to be interviewed about the issue.

Bennett wrote the letter after meeting with the owners of a Toronto sex shop that specializes in eco-friendly sex toys who told her of their concerns with the kind of plastics used in most of the devices.

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