British Condoms Study Shows UV Exposure Can Weaken Self-lubricating Condom Durability

British Condoms Study Shows UV Exposure Can Weaken Self-lubricating Condom Durability

PR Newswire

NOTTINGHAM, England, November 1, 2018

NOTTINGHAM, England, November 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --

The UK's largest condom superstore, British Condoms, has conducted a study on UV exposure and condoms. New self-lubricating condoms have recently been praised in media outlets, but the process of their creation includes exposure to UV light, which can decrease a normal condom's effectiveness. In a study conducted at their research facility in Nottingham, British Condoms decided to put direct UV exposure and its effects on latex condoms to the test.

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Condoms and UV exposure  

It's a well-known fact that condoms are perishable. Normal condoms can remain effective for three to five years depending on the manufacturer and according to national policy. However, the lifetime of a condom can be drastically decreased through things like exposure to sunlight/UV, heat, humidity and moisture - as quoted by the department of health.

The creators of new self-lubricating condoms state that to make the condoms self-lubricating, water loving polymers are bound to the latex by exposing them to 30 minutes of UV light and therein lies a potential problem.

Steven Rambridge, a researcher and quality technician at British Condoms said, "Any type of direct UV exposure like that to a latex condom, no matter how long the period, will have an adverse effect on the latex and will inevitably make it weaker. This is not UV light that is shining naturally on a condom that is enclosed in packaging, this is direct exposure to UV light on the latex itself."

The Test  

Technicians at British Condoms facility in Nottingham set up a testing bay in which two identical regular condoms (50-55mm bracket as laid out by the World Health Organisation in laid flat width) could be stress-tested using airbursts - one condom with the 30 minutes UV exposure and the other without.

Airburst stress-tests are used by the World Health Organisation (WHO) when testing condoms and this test was carried out to those guidelines - more information can be found here.

The Results   

The condom without the 30 minutes UV exposure lasted for 20.3 litres (or dm3) of airburst testing until the latex gave way, whereas the condom with UV exposure only lasted for 18.4 litres (or dm3) of airburst. The guideline by WHO is 18 litres (dm3), so the condom only just scraped the cut.

When talking about the results Steven remarked: "The results are concerning. We were using industry leading branded condoms that are heavily regulated and although the stress-test indicates that the condoms would still just pass the stress test, we must point out that this result is without a casual buyer storing the condoms themselves in warm places, furthering exposure to daylight, daily wear and tear. This would dramatically lower the durability of the condoms which could lead to tearing and rendering them generally unfit for purpose."

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Contact:John Simmons,, tel.: +44(0)207-1235-633

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