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Why Eco Friendly Condoms Matter

What do harmful chemicals, animal exploitation and unfair labour all have in common? Condoms!

This may sound extreme but the sad truth is that many condom companies involve these practices in making their products.

As a consumer, it is your right to know everything about a product in order to make an informed decision. This is especially true when it involves putting your health at risk and upholding ethical standards. 

This blog post will be all about health risks and ethical issues in the condom industry.

You will learn:

  • What Chemicals to avoid  in condoms and lubricant products that can put your vaginal health at risk

  • Ethical issues and unfair labour involved in the production process

  • Animal cruelty and by-products used in sexual health products

  • Alternative options and brands that uphold ethical and clean living standards

Please Note:  Condoms are important to use for safe sex regardless of the type or brand. This article is merely providing you with information to make informed decisions about your sexual health products.

Here a few things to consider when choosing condoms:

Latex Rubber 

Do you believe in fair labour laws? Do you try and purchase fair trade products? Did you know that condoms also need to be fair trade? That’s right!

Here are the facts. Latex condoms are made from rubber produced from the sap of the rubber tree plant. Most of the world's rubber plantations are located in south-east Asia where inadequate working conditions are common. This means that many workers are subject to unsafe work environments, chemical exposure, unfair pay and excessive working hours. If that wasn’t bad enough, many workers on these plantations are children! Yes, many of the world condoms are made via child labour. 

What can you do about it?

Buy condoms from companies that have certified their rubber fair trade. Just like your coffee and chocolate can be certified fair trade, your condoms can also get this seal of approval. Being fir trade means no child will be exploited to make these products. It also ensures that workers are receiving fair wages and safe working conditions. Look on a company website to see if they are fairtrade. If you cant opening find this information contact them directly or check the Fair Rubber Association website.

Condoms Contain Milk By-Products

Many condoms contain casein which is a milk by-product. If you are vegan or opt not to consume milk for ethical reasons, you will need to look for vegan condoms. Casein is added to help make the rubber thin and smooth. Vegan condoms replace casein with a plant material that serves the same purpose.

Animal Testing

 Many condom companies test on animals. 

In some countries including the US, condoms are considered a class II medical device and therefore must pass certain tests (including animal testing) to receive approval. Some companies are only required to test their initial product on animals and are not required for future products. Very few companies have been granted approval for their product without testing. Approval without testing only happens under certain circumstances when the company can demonstrate the safety of their product without that testing. Also for clarification, when a condom says “Vegan” this means the condom contains no animal by-products. This does NOT mean that is hasn't been tested on animals. 

What can you do?

 Reference a companies website to check about animal testing or contact them directly.

Non-Latex Condoms 

Non-latex condoms usually come from lambskin, this name is slightly misleading because the product is actually made from lamb bladder and intestines. Not that sexy, right? Lambskin condoms also do not protect against STI infections.

What can you do?

Instead, try polyurethane condoms that are latex-free and don’t contain animal products.

Harmful Condom Toppings

Condom toppings are substances that you find on the outside of the condom. Below are three toppings to be aware of:


Spermicide has been used on condoms as an added prevention for pregnancy and STI transmission. This is made possible by the main active ingredient Nonoxynol 9. Unfortunately, recent studies have found this not only is this claim false but Nonoxynol 9 could potentially be a health risk. The World Health Organization reported that the amount of Nonoxynol 9 used on a condom showed no increased effectiveness of protecting against STIs or pregnancy than a non-spermicidal condom. I also showed that this chemical can damage and kills skin cells on the vaginal wall which increases the chances of contracting STIs or UTIs long term.

How can you avoid this?

Simple answer, avoid spermicide on condoms. Condoms can be up to 99% effective if used properly. 

Talcum Powder

Talcum powder is used on condoms to keep moisture from forming inside the product to ensure a smooth application without tearing. 

Evidence from research published by the American Medical Association showed that when talcum particles enter the body, they irritate tissue, potentially causing cancer and infertility. 

How can you avoid this? 

Some companies understand the dangers of talc and have switched to corn starch instead.

Many companies will state this on their website. Contact them for further information.


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