Jan 152015
 

Update: This post has been edited with information I’ve been given that completely changes the narrative; information that hadn’t been made as public as their lab tests. It changes the story from one of me being angry, to me feeling like the industry is actually, slowly, getting better and getting somewhere. Update at the bottom. 

 

For a long while now I’ve been a big critic of The Screaming O brand for one big reason:

They lied about their materials.

This misrepresentation of material content has continued to perpetuate firstly the myth that there is such a thing as a TPR/Elastomer/Silicone “blend” and secondly it perpetuates the myth that silicone will melt and degrade or that silicone can look crystal clear.

I’ve put their basic rings to a flame test before and they created such immediate, hot flames that I had to pour water over them to die down – a simple wave in the air wasn’t enough. Consistently, Screaming O has claimed that the material of their cheapie rings is “SEBS silicone“. The SEBS part confuses retailers, so they’ll just omit that and call it silicone. I’d strongly suspected prior to a flame test that these cheap rings are not silicone because they are so soft, so stretchy and crystal clear. This has not been a hallmark of pure silicone. Flame test revealed no grey and material destruction that was like it liquified in the heat.

ScreamingOburnt

A few months ago there was a dust-up on Twitter between Screaming O and some bloggers and part of this stemmed from a few of us talking about sex toys that are labeled silicone when they clearly are not. Of course, Screaming O came up and made this bold bullshit call:

Tweet that says:  "@sex_ational @dangerouslilly @RaavynnDigitaL Our products that are silicone are labeled and the ones that are not, are not. #wedontfakeit"

Product packaging, and the website, has always listed these as “SEBS Silicone”, and the language I’ve taken issue with is “silicone”

ScreamingOSEBS5

 

TO BE CLEAR: My problem with Screaming O is that they’ve been misrepresenting their material for ages. I do recognize that some of their products are silicone, like  their Primo line. They look completely different. They look like they could actually be silicone, unlike their cheap jelly products.  So you can imagine how rankled I got with their tweet claiming they don’t lie. The products have been sent out for  independent lab tests:

“I think we can finally put to rest the critics with our data that shows our products are what we say they are,” Hodder said.

Polymer Solutions Incorporated, a material analysis laboratory in Virginia, conducted tests on the Screaming O Original Ring, made from clear SEBS (styrene-ethylene/butylene-styrene), and the PrimO Apex, which is purple silicone. Since there are no standardized tests in place for pleasure products, the lab conducted tests that fall under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which covers baby products and other children’s items.

The tests proved that the PrimO Apex is made from silicone, that the Screaming O Original Ring is made from SEBS.

Let me clarify: “made from clear SEBS (styrene-ethylene/butylene-styrene)” FULL STOP. That’s  it. That’s all. No silicone.

 

UPDATE: I have been informed that Screaming O DOES plan to update their information to reflect the lack of silicone in the SEBS products. So, my apologies for my anger this morning, Screaming O. The information that they “get it” and are making changes wasn’t included in that press release, and I think that’s the most important information of all. Hopefully all retailer sites will be told to update their product listings, and stop calling them silicone and confusing people. I want to thank the warriors behind the scenes who prompted this re-evaluation on their wording, geting the test done, and making the changes. I’m under the impression that the site will be updated soon, and slowly product packaging will change.

I was so upset at what appeared to be a compete “they don’t get it” moment because I was going by the press release information, that I didn’t take the time to ask before I got angry and ranted. I need to do that more, and now I feel like an asshole!

 

 

 Posted by at 10:35 am
  • beautiful thunder

    “We realize that our consumers are becoming more savvy and educated…” so now we can’t lie to them anymore?

  • Yeah, to me it’s like saying, “We always knew this was a bad thing to do, but now that people know it, we are going to pretend like we were moral all along.” WTF.

  • I also made it very clear on social media that I was going to try to raise the money to send in a ring for a lab test. They thought that by beating me to the punch they could “change the narrative” or whatever lingo PR people like to use. They could have taken this opportunity to be up front about what their site and packaging says, yet they still bluster and bullshit and lie.

  • Mary Q. Contrary

    I used to work in research and “styrene-ethylene/butylene-styrene” sounds familiar – they make test tubes and storage vials out of these materials because they are inert and usually won’t react with the chemicals inside, although I believe styrenes carry a charge so if your solution is ionic you have to be careful. I’m a bit rusty on my organic chemistry, though. Point is, by chemistry, this material is inert.

  • Wren

    It’s good to see that they’re ditching the “silicone” wording for products that are so obviously not silicone, but did they really need a lab test to tell them that there wasn’t a bit of silicone in those toys when they’re the ones who probably came up with the “blend” in the first place? I probably shouldn’t be looking this gift horse in the mouth, but that just bothers me a bit.

    Now if we can only get larger companies like these guys to ditch clear, porous crap and use actual body safe materials. No saying on packaging that a toy’s made of body safe materials when in reality it’s made of porous, bacteria magnet crap, but actual, 100% genuine body safe materials.

    And while we’re at it maybe get them to not be huge scumbags (looking at you Pipedream!) that promote damaging/offensive stereotypes and rape culture with their products and advertising.

  • I think they wanted the lab test to prove there are no phthalates? I’m not really sure.

    I’m not 100% on ditching ALL the porous crap, which I know sounds weird coming from me. I’d rather see it ditched when all the companies are making very affordable, silicone versions of everything. These big companies have the resources to buy silicone in bulk and make it for cheap. They DO do that, just not enough. I do still want people to be able to afford their sex toys so it’s a really really tough call. If they definitely use a non-toxic one, if they keep an eye on it and are educated on what to look for (black spots, for one) and then they toss it after 6 months? That’s ….. a compromise.

  • If it’s used to make a test tube then wouldn’t it be more….solid, than the jelly-like material these rings are? Which means they’re stretched out with softeners which makes them less stable. But that’s…that’s okay, I guess. It’s better than trying to say it’s silicone.

  • Mary Q. Contrary

    It depends on the process and amounts of which components and how it’s cured. Think about chocolate chip cookies. That’s a chemical process. You can make them so they are chewy or you can make them so they’re crunchy & crumbly by varying the amount of butter or shortening, temperature you cook them at, or cook time. And look at baby bottles. BPA has been a big issue, and baby bottles are hard. But bad pthalates are banned in children’s products, and the nipples are still soft, and not all are silicone. So in that case, you have a hard material that’s dangerous and a soft material that’s safe.

    I won’t conjecture much further than that. I only took O chem because I had to. And if the mass spec didn’t show BPA or mineral oils, then whatever catalysts they used have been cured out of the material, and that’s actually a good thing – a clean process. They still misbehaved, and still lied, though. No disputing that.

  • I really, really adore the chocolate chip cookie analogy because sometimes…we need it explained like we’re 5. And I really do need a lot of science explained like I’m 5, til I get it. (which is why I failed my chem classes 1st year in college).

    Whatever SEBS is….it burns like oil. That one had a hotter, bigger flame than anything else I’ve set to fire for testing before.

  • Mary Q. Contrary

    All of those chemicals that make it up are flammable. There’s a LOT of Hydrogen going on here. How about some adult terms? With silicone, you have Si, which is really REALLY stable, and likes to be monogamous with Oxygen and the two like to only play with others like them. Silicone polymers and salts are all that inorganic chemistry are. Hydrogen is a drama queen, so to speak. Carbon is needy, and always needs to have 4 partners at a time, so when Hydrogen leaves, Carbon gets clingy and things get volatile. Most of organic chemistry is the love story between C, H, and O, and occasionally other players, like N. The positions they get into make how they play with others very specific. Does that make sense?

  • I can’t say how much I love this explanation.

  • That’s very unfortunate to think the company lied about what was in their products. I’m glad they are finally being honest about their materials and hopefully this opens a window for others who may have deceived their consumers.

  • I do know you’ve read the other post but I just wanted to clarify: I don’t really believe they lied. I think they absolutely accepted what their supplier TOLD THEM the material was, with total faith in them and so they defended what they believed to be true for years. From what I’ve seen, companies that were purposely deceiving have very quietly made the change from calling their TPR item “TPR Silicone” to just “TPR”. It was never made public for those companies. The fact that TSO has publicly posted the results of their lab test and are going to publicly announce the total change in wording on sites and packaging comes across as more “oops, we really didn’t know, but now we do, so let’s fix it”.

  • shockedsoutherniowan

    In November my husband and I bought several jelly toys. Used only a couple times and they all are melting, the screaming o says they are safe and free of the phalat stuff. What should we do¿

  • SickRose

    Have you had any updates on this? I was at an event last month where a Screaming O rep was still calling it “SEBS silicone” and it’s what their packaging still says. They also made a point of talking about having their products lab tested to confirm that they were in fact “SEBS Silicone”.

  • No, I haven’t. This is really disappointing to hear though.

  • Which event was this? The rep who said this stuff needs to be corrected, but without knowing which event, the PR person doesn’t know who to correct.

  • Beau Demiurge

    We sell Hott Products Super Stud Orasmix ring. It says on the back that it is phalates free Silicone, but it is completely clear, just like the Screaming O brand. Do you know anything about this company? I have been trying to educate myself with these types of things since I started selling sex toys fairly recently. Thank GOD I came across your blog. I refer to it almost every day. Please let me know what your thoughts are on this product. I am trying to make this store better than it was…the woman who used to run my department just didn’t care it seems. Any information on this would be helpful…

  • Without seeing it in person I can’t say. The photos I see online all look different; some look clear just like the cheaper SO rings, some don’t. The quickest way to find out is to (remove the bullet) use a lighter. If it’s not silicone, if it’s a TPR like material, it will burn a hot, large flame quickly.