ORION involved in first ISO standard for sex toys

By Benno von Sandhayn
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The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) recently published the development of a safety standard for the quality of sex toys to ensure greater safety in the use of sex toys.

Sex toys come into contact with the most intimate parts of the body, yet there have been no official guidelines for their quality safety. To ensure this, industry experts and standardization specialists from different countries have linked up to develop uniform guidelines. The result is the international standard “ISO 3533:2021”. Head of the German delegation was Stefan Schröder, Head of Quality and Conformity at ORION, who explained details of the new ISO standard for sex toys in an interview.

What is the exact name of the standard for sex toys?

It is an international standard, the “ISO 3533:2021”. ISO is the abbreviation for International Organization for Standardization. There is also the national standard “DIN” (German Institute for Standardization) and European standards “EN”. A standard containing these terms is recognized worldwide.

What does the standard “ISO 3533:2021” contain?

The standard contains specifications for the safety of sex toys that are in direct contact with the genitals and / or the anus. These specifications relate to mechanical, electrical and vibration, materials, general safety and user information. For example, there are certain design specifications – anal toys should have a stopper or retrieval mechanism, for example. Of course, chemical aspects also play a role.

ISO Norm Sextoys

Manufacturers are required to address the composition of the product, especially biocompatibility. However, there are also requirements for packaging and instructions for use.

Who initiated the standard? And why is that?

The standard was initiated in 2019 by the Swedish standards body SIS (Swedish Institute for Standards) and guided through the development process. Doctors from a hospital in Stockholm had complained there about the lack of safety of sex toys, which they increasingly had to remove from patients.

Who was significantly involved in the development of the standard?

The ISO standardization body is composed of the delegates of the respective countries. These were mainly European countries. Delegates from Sweden, Great Britain, France, Holland, Switzerland, Germany and Japan were actively represented.

How long did the development process take?

Typically, such a development takes at least three years, more likely more. During our development process, the Corona Pandemic intervened and ensured that we became one of the first online-only committees. Thanks to good cooperation, we then managed to get the standard through the entire development phase within 24 months.

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What impact will the publication of the standard have on the erotic industry?

First, it is a standard that can be applied voluntarily. It gives clear guidance to manufacturers on how to make a product “safe”. In the course of time, the “state of the art” can develop from this, so that authorities also take the requirements from the standard as a basis for evaluating the safety of a product.

What was ORION’s approach to quality assurance prior to the publication of this standard?

As early as 15 years ago, we at ORION had to deal with the problem that there was hardly any framework for our products that specified the safety requirements. We then developed our own “ORION Standard” in cooperation with very renowned laboratories. This is especially common in Asia. To do this, we looked at chemical and physical aspects of the EU Toys Directive and the associated EN71 standard and adapted these to our articles. Thus, the first stress tests for love balls or even phthalate-free PVC were decisively set as standards by ORION. These standards have been largely adopted in the new standard.

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