Recently I’ve been hearing claims of “silicone allergies” from sex toy consumers. Wondering if the industry as a whole is seeing this as well, I reached out to a silicone expert.
The expert I reached out to is a PhD in Toxicology as well as being a DABT, a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology. Part of their job is biocompatibility testing and working with the FDA on 510K (medical device) submissions.
Personally, I’ve only met one person with a silicone “allergy” which was really a heightened immune response. She’d undergone a medical procedure for a silicone implant (not breast) and her auto immune system saw the implant as a foreign invader and had become extremely sensitive to silicone. Now I’m hearing stories from consumers who get rashes and irritations from being in contact with silicone (ie using silicone dildos).
When I asked about allergies to silicone, I also added:
Because of my industry, where labeling is sometimes misleading, I don’t know if these reactions are to other materials, mislabeled as silicone; to other materials believed to be silicone; to lesser grades of silicone; or exposure such as happened with latex.
The expert replied:
They also added,
I have become aware that some of the newer biocompatibility tests for sensitization (allergenicity), conducted as a part of no- or reduced-animal testing program, may not be suitable methods for testing the sensitization potential of silicone-based products. Some of these tests give false positive results demonstrated when the test results are compared against results from standard Guinea pig or human patch testing results.
Conclusion: I’m not sure what is causing skin reactions, but it doesn't seem to be silicone.
© Tantus, Inc. 2015. All Rights Reserved.
Metis Black is a Pleasure Revolutionary: the Founder and President of Tantus, Inc. The realization of her sex toy manufacturing company in 1997 helped to change the profile of sexuality products by mainstreaming silicone products and educating the industry on material safety and sexuality.
Metis' success has brought her accolades inside and outside of her industry. Her articles on material safety standards in sexual products and the chemistry of personal products such as lubricants have been widely published. Some of her publishing credits include American Journal of Sexuality Education, Good Vibrations Online Magazine, On Our Backs, Adult Novelty Business, XBiz, and The Free Speech Coalition. In 2015, she was also elected onto the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance's Board of Directors.
Over the last decade and a half, Metis has proven to be a champion for sex educators and a mentor to other small business owners.