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Condoms: With over 10 billion sold annually which are eco-friendly?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 by: Lisa S. Lawless, Ph.D.
Tags: condoms, latex, eco-friendly

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(NaturalNews) If you are like most people who care about the planet you live on then you may have wondered if condoms are recyclable and how to properly dispose of them. There are a few different types of condoms and each has a unique ecological footprint.

Latex Condoms

The majority of condoms made are constructed of latex along with other additives. Latex rubber by itself is biodegradable as it is a naturally occurring substance made from the sap of rubber trees. However, because latex condoms are not made with 100% latex, they will not biodegrade in water. This is a big reason not to flush them down the toilet as they will clog pipes, water treatment plants and rivers. The best way to dispose of them currently is to put them in the trash and have them sent to a landfill so that they can breakdown in the ground.

It is important to note that latex condoms can only be used with waterbased and silicone lubricants. Using an oil based lubricant on them will break down the latex and compromise the integrity of the condom allowing for a possible tear or rupture of them. In addition, the melting of these substances can also leach into the bloodstream.

Polyurethane Condoms

Those who have allergies to latex often opt to use polyurethane condoms which are composed of a soft plastic. Polyurethane condoms are typically thinner than latex condoms as well as more expensive. These condoms will not biodegrade and therefore are a lesser ecofriendly option. They too will clog pipes and waterways so it is important not to flush them. As for lubricants, you can use oil and waterbased lubricants with them.

Polyisoprene Condoms

These condoms were approved by the FDA in 2008 and are composed of a synthetic latex formula that can be used by those with latex allergies. They are thinner than traditional latex condoms but thicker, more form-fitting and stretchy than polyurethane condoms. As for price, polyisoprene condoms are more expensive than traditional latex, but are less expensive than polyurethane. Like traditional latex condoms, polyisoprene cannot be used with oil based lubricants and are unfortunately not biodegradable.

Lambskin Condoms

These condoms are also known as sheepskin and natural membrane condoms and are made from the intestinal lining of sheep or lambs. Lambskin condoms are somewhat porous and do offer protection against pregnancy and bacterial STIs, but they do not protect against STDs, including HIV. They are the most natural feeling of condoms, but they do have a strong scent that some find overwhelming. They are also the most expensive of all the condoms that are currently available. These are fully biodegradable condoms which make them the most environmentally conscientious choice. However, you should avoid flushing them so as not to clog your plumbing.

Silicone Coated Condoms

There is a common error that is made when consumers hear the term silicone coated condoms; as sometimes they make the mistake of thinking that they are a silicone coated condom that has a solid silicone layer over latex, polyurethane or polyisoprene. However, silicone coated condoms are simply a condom that is prelubricated using a silicone lubricant.

Silicone Condoms

Currently there is a patented silicone condom that is in the works and is about to revolutionize the condom industry. Clinical trials began in the fall of 2011 and FDA approval appears to be coming shortly. What makes them so amazing is that they have an accordion design that allows for a more realistic and pleasurable feel than any other condom on the market and they have a firm base that will prevent any slipping or coming off. In addition, they are not prone to breaking as they are made with a strong silicone material. These silicone condoms come in three designs including a female condom.

The data on biodegradability and if they can be used again is still pending. These will be available for sale by the end of 2014 to early 2015.

To learn more about them as well as where to buy them, see this article-

Lubricants & Spermicides in Condoms

Using condoms that are prelubricated with lubricants and spermicide may alter the biodegradability of a condom. Currently there are no studies as to the effects.

It is important to also look at the ingredients in prelubricated condoms to determine if you have allergies to any of the ingredients. Some people have allergies to spermicide, while others have allergic reactions to certain chemicals in the lubricants.

In addition, condoms can come prelubricated with lubricants that contain potential toxins. Examples of such controversial toxins are parabens.

See more about parabens here-

See more regarding this topic through this helpful article on lubricants-http://www.holisticwisdom.com/lubricant-warnings.htm

Condoms Outer Wrapping & Bottom Line

One of the issues that condom manufacturers also need to address are the condom wrappers made of plastic and foil that are not biodegradable. With over 10 billion condoms used each year, consumers should contact condom manufacturers to let them know that the biodegradability of their products is a problem that should be addressed to ensure the longevity of our planet.

About the author:
Lisa S. Lawless, Ph.D. is a Psychotherapist who has dedicated over 20 years to therapeutic practice in the mental health field with a specialization in
sexual health. She is the C.E.O. and founder of Holistic Wisdom, Inc., which provides empowering education, products and resources to promote
sexual wellness.

In addition, Dr. Lawless is the founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Science & Art in Sexuality (NAASAS.org), which is an
educational organization for professionals in the field of sexuality. In addition to classes and networking, it is through this academic organization
that Dr. Lawless has teamed with the leaders in the field to create a coalition for safe and nontoxic sexual products.

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