Tuesday, November 29, 2011

exemplary actions

We've started discussing some of the side issues regarding personal health and BDSM in previous posts here at the SpiritualBDSM blog.  Issues our community faces include but are not limited to: the common use of hazardous chemicals such as phylates in dildos and vibrators, the unsafe nature of leather toys for internal use, the many problems inherent in products made in China, as well as the age old issue that all non-monogamous humans must face - sexually transmitted disease.

Although I always do my best to make blog entries here interesting, these aren't especially engaging topics.  None of these are sexy to think about.  For sure, nobody is going to masturbate to thoughts on these topics.  Not to mention that they are not very likely to draw new readers to our blog.  In fact, these topics are likely to alienate readers looking for more titillating postings about the very exciting aspects of BDSM.

So why write these kind of posts?  Why not just write about the fun and exciting aspects of BDSM?  Don't we want more readers?

Obviously, Serafina and I think they are important topics for discussion or contemplation.  They get written despite being a little uncomfortable and potentially uninteresting for some readers.  They get written because they are very necessary to our mission of not just entertaining, but also educating.

Thankfully, we are not alone. There is little or no regulation in the sex toy industry, but there are manufacturers who "self-regulate" and go out of their way to provide quality products that are not only safe, but are made here in the USA.  Manufacturers of this sort are not only providing safe toys for adult fun, they are also providing jobs and contributing to our country's economy.

With that in mind, I'd like to give one domestic toy maker a tip of my cap, a nod of serious recognition, for their policies and products.

That company is Tantus.
We don't want to go on at too great a length about Tantus products in this posting.  We have a good number of their toys in our collection, and they all deserve their own reviews.  We made most of our Tantus toy purchases direct from the manufacturer, so Tantus also deserves their own vendor review.

For now we'll just say that Tantus has been making silicone toys here in the US since 1998.  And, as the tag line of the entertaining videos that accompany their product listings usually says: "Tantus Toys are hypoallergenic, hygienic, phthalate free, odorless, tasteless, boilable, bleachable and even dishwasher safe."

Tantus seems to have a great company philosophy, which we applaud.  Here's a verbatim re-posting of fairly brief note from the Tantus website about the meaning of being both health and green as a manufacturer.
What does it mean to make toys healthy for the body and to be a green manufacturer?
Green has become the new tagline of just about every industry, especially in sex toys. And everything it seems is now silicone. Is it all safe? Is it all the same?
Tantus takes pride in the fact that all our products are healthy for the body and made using processes that are healthy for the earth. We’ve been around since 1998 advocating for safer products and responsible retailing and it hasn’t been an easy ride.
So now that so much silicone is around- what makes silicone made in China different from the more expensive products (without as many whistles and bells) which are made in North America or even Germany. What difference is there in a company whose sole product line is silicone or healthy materials from factories who have it made for them in third world countries?
As a responsible manufacturer I want to know the process is clean as well as the materials. I want to know my customers are safe. I want to know that each portion of the process here at Tantus is under my control.
In 2006 the Dutch EPA did a study where they randomly chose 16 adult toys from a store. Out of those 16 tested 3 had arsenic, 6 had antimony, 12 had lead and 7 had cadmium. Cadmium is a heavy metal. Every time you expose yourself to those toys your cadmium level increases. One of the cadmium toys had levels so high that the EU would have required a radioactive sticker on the product had it known this had been imported into the continent. So what was it? The radioactive sex toy was a Chinese made Slimline vibrator made of safe ABS. The issue wasn’t what the toy was made of but what it was pigmented with. This toy was yellow and cadmium was its pigment.
When you smell a Tantus product there is no scent of chemicals— and when you walk into our shop you’ll have the same experience. We manufacture everything here in the US so we can make certain that the materials we use are safe; the solvents we use are safe and the quality is superior.
Solvents are used to clean machines, there is no way getting around it. At Tantus we use an FDA approved mineral spirit that we recycle. We pay a little more for this solvent, but it’s worth it. I didn’t mention the toluene in the Dutch EPA study but 14 or 16 products had it and what is it used for… to clean machines.
But let’s talk about silicone. Silicone is made by refining silica. Yup sand. Sand is heated and refined and heated again, etc until it becomes a liquid. There are no milk proteins here. It’s vegan as vegan can be.
And while 100% Ultra-Premium Silicone does not break down, it is completely inert. As waste it builds land mass but doesn’t pollute the land. And all silicones are not the same. There are as many different grades of silicone as there are raw silicones that are made.
But Buyer Beware— adult novelties isn’t a regulated industry.
For years products have been labeled silicone that had either negligible amounts of silicone or no silicone at all. This summer I heard a horror story of a very responsible vendor going to China to look at what was available and being asked do you want the package that says silicone or the generic one. When they ask what the toy is actually made of they were told, “No. Do you want the package that says it’s silicone or not?”
But one of the most crucial parts of being green, I think is economic sustainability. I think when someone talks about “green” they have to talk about sustainable wages. At Tantus no one who makes our products makes just $2.00 a day. We pay livable wages in a very livable city. We sustain the economy by making all of our products right here in the USA.
Green sex toys make good press. But we at Tantus are proud of our stewardship: we live responsive to our passions. We take care to make sexual products that work for the body and work for the earth.
While advertising yourself as being "green" is good marketing in some circles, there aren't many companies willing to make the kind of total commitment we see from Tantus.

Commitment to providing a green product for adults is outstanding.  That's also true for a similar commitment to a green manufacturing process.  Providing jobs at home and contributing to our shared economy is both commendable and worthy of imitation.

Which brings us back to the post's title:
ex·em·pla·ry  (g-zmpl-radj.1. Worthy of imitation; commendable: exemplary behavior.2. Serving as a model.

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