SPARKS, Nev. — Following claims of silicone allergies from sex toy consumers, Tantus President Metis Black reached out to a silicone expert for clarification.
According to Black, the expert she contacted is a PhD in toxicology, and is a Diplomate of the Board of Toxicology — which means he is tasked with 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,” Black said. “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).”
According to Black, the expert responded:
“From time to time I have heard (or read) of people claiming ‘allergic’ rashes from lingerie coated with silicone textile treatments to enhance gripping (like the textile coatings on the tops of thigh-high stockings to keep them in place). Rather than allergic responses, these have been irritation rashes, resulting from heat and moisture under the silicone band. Irritation responses are different from allergic responses.
“It is possible that there could be additives in some silicones that might trigger an allergic reaction. Similarly, some functionalized silicones or silanes might also have allergenic potential but I could not name any silicone substances or products used in medical devices, cosmetics, or consumer applications that have been identified as allergens under conditions of use. Biological reactions and effects from deliberate mis-use of products, of course, could be a whole different story — and these stories show up in the news with sad and alarming regularity.
"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."
Black says she’s come to the conclusion that silicone isn’t what’s causing skin reactions for some sex toy users.