Having read an article in the July edition of EAN about the recent call for stricter regulations on adult pleasure products, I have been considering, are these regulations necessary or will they just muddy the water further when it comes to designing a “’safe” sex toy product?
The CE mark is a certification that indicates conformity with health, safety and environmental protection standards. It is also a mandatory requirement for any product manufactured within or designed to be sold in the European Union. Any sex toy product, in theory, will have to conform with the legal requirements of the CE in order to be marketed within the EU. As Product Designers we adhere to these when taking any new products through the stages from initial concept to manufacture. These “new” guidelines from SIS would just add another facet to this process, but as they have been described as “voluntary” they appear to me to be rather superfluous.
For me, there are two issues surrounding the perceived safety of sex toys.
1. Manufacturers outside of the UK that are not challenged to confirm with safety standards like the CE mark. By not doing so these manufacturers can easily under cut the pricing of quality products who are and selling non-rated products in the open market.
2. That it’s not so much the safety of sex toy products themselves but how they are being used by the consumer.
So how can these issues be addressed?
Well, firstly better policing of this is a must. The industry must police itself and report any non-conformists to trading standards or similar organisations. However, much needs to be done to ensure any legal challenges are efficiently supported by a trading standards organisation with enough resources to make these challenges effective.
With regards to the second issue, educating the end users of the products is the key to reducing the 40% of accidents reported in the article. This education is arguably the responsibility of the B2C retailers.
So, in summary, we need a better framework for making an example of those who are not trading fairly and ignoring general product safety measures and best practises already in place.
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