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drawing_dwarf
11 April 2013 @ 05:42 pm

Hey everybody,

So, I hate to be the bringer of (possibly) bad news but I don’t hate it so much that I won’t do it, because knowledge is power and I hate being lied to.

So, flame testing.  I’m not sure how many people here are familiar with the concept, so I’ll give a quick run-down.  The idea is to determine if a product which claims to be “silicone” is in fact made entirely of silicone or if it is actually a silicone/elastomer blend (this is a much more common problem than you probably think).  It’s a pretty simple test; you just take the object in question and hold it in the open flame of a match or lighter for a few seconds and observe.  Pure silicone won’t melt, catch on fire, deform, or degenerate; the most that will happen is you might get a bit of ash on the surface.  Elastomer on the other hand is very flammable.  When you have a silicone/elastomer blend it will melt, deform, or even catch on fire.

I’ve really only seen flame testing used by sex toy reviewers since the industry is completely unregulated and manufacturers lie about materials but I figured I could just as easily apply it to menstrual cups.

I got suspicious of my Fleurcups after recieving a Lunette.  I happened to be boiling one of my Fleurs and the Lunette at the same time and noticed that the Fleur had significantly more of a hot plastic-y smell after boiling than the Lunette which barely smelled at all.  Even at room temperature the Fleurs tend to have a very slight plastic smell.  I know that the Fleurcup website claims medical grade silicone, but I’m not really sure if materials claims in things like cups is regulated in France so I decided to check for myself.  I flame tested the stems of both the Fleur and the Lunette and got some bad news where the Fleur is concerned.  I got definite material degeneration on the Fleur’s stem; it kind of smoldered and cooled in a kind of hard, discolored, crumbly/flaky substance.  This did not happen with the Lunette; I did get some serious carbon residue but a lot of that may have even been from the match.

Just for comparison I did the same with a couple of products which I know for a fact are made of pure high quality silicone: a Tantus dildo, and a Fun Factory one.  I only got minor ashing from both of these which is what one would expect from pure silicone which is what the Fleurcups claim to be made out of.

Now as far as silicone versus elastomer goes I know that MeLuna makes their cups from elastomer, and it isn’t necessarily a bad material but I don’t personally want an elastomer cup.  My reasons for not wanting elastomer is the fact that it’s slightly porous and therefor can’t be cleaned as thoroughly as silicone which is completely non-porous.  As far the Fleurcup goes, I figure if you're fine with a silicone/elastomer blend cup then you could absolutely keep using it and it's probably no big deal, but I personally am not okay with it.

The biggest problem I see here is that I want to know exactly what something is made of before I shove it up my vagina and leave it there for hours.  If they were marketed as silicone/elastomer blend cups that would be fine and I just wouldn’t buy one.  Claiming a product is made of medical grade silicone when it really isn’t is not cool.  I’m going to email Fleurcup and see if they have anything to say about the matter.

I’m also curious if anyone else here flame tests, and I’m especially curious if someone with a Sckoon cup would be willing to test theirs because I am now in the market for a new large cup and I like the look of the Sckoon.

I'm sorry I don't have any pictures of the damage right now because my camera battery is dead, but I can add some later if people are interested.

ETA: Wow this sounds much more ominous with everything else hidden behind a cut.  It's not quite as horrible as it sounds.

 
juliiie87juliiie87 on April 12th, 2013 05:13 pm (UTC)
I have no background in chemistry, but I think the harmful substances found in some "plastic" materials would be the same found in Tupperware-type containers and plactic bottles, mainly BPA & phtalates, which Meluna namely claims its material does not contain, and backs up the overall safety of it with pages long of clinical test results, if anyone is interested and has the knowledge necessary to understand those. Also, a though occurred to me : "medical grade silicone" is something you read on english language websites mainly, and different brands have different formulations to describe their material... for instance, I've seen "platinum silicone" which might or might not make a lot of sense in english. So I wonder what Fleurcup actually calls it. Actually yes, medical silicone, anallergic, phtalates & bisphenol A-free, dyes are "from the medical field", no perfume or rubber latex.

Also I'd love to know what the manufacturers and an actual chemistry prof have to say.

Edited at 2013-04-12 05:16 pm (UTC)