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Condoms are manufactured in factories in the different parts
of the world. Using latex and non-latex products, condom manufacturers make sure that
their products go through rigid testing for quality purposes. Basically, there are six
standard tests for latex condoms
followed by the leading manufacturers. The main purposes of these tests are to prevent pregnancies
and transmission of infectious diseases and to lessen the loss of sensation during sexual intercourse.
Condoms need to go through quality control to ensure their
effectiveness and safety. The United States has its own method of testing. Each condom
undergoes electronic testing for holes and possible defects. For every batch of condoms
manufactured, an air inflation test is done for several samples. This test involves filling
a condom with air just like a balloon until it bursts. Typically, a condom should be able
to hold at least 40 liters of air or about nine gallons of water before bursting. Each lot
of packaged condoms also go through a water leak test during which they are visually
examined for holes. At this stage, condoms are filled with 300 ml of water and then
submerged for about three minutes. After the test, the condoms are checked for leaks by
rolling them on blotting paper.
There are still other tests done on condoms after passing through
those first initial tests. They are checked for thickness and size through the condom dimension
test. During this phase, the product is stretched and is measured to determine its width, length
The tensile properties or strength test, on the other hand, entails the cutting of the
condom’s midsection and stretching it until it breaks. This particular test helps
determine the force needed to break the condom, its length at the point of breakage and
its tensile breaking strength. Other tests pertain to package integrity and lubricant
quality. The package integrity test requires a packaged condom to be put in a vacuum to
ensure the absence of packaging defects while the lubricant quality test measures the
amount of lubricant used in the condoms. Finally, there is the oven test which allows the
aging of condoms through artificial means to make sure that it remains effective up until
its shelf life which is normally five years.
Countries around the world have their respective regulatory agencies that determine the
safety of health and body products that enter their jurisdiction. In the U.S., the Food
and Drug Administration is the main regulatory body that approves the release of condoms
on the market while other countries use the ISO standard.
Some manufacturers even take the extra steps after the release of their condoms in the
market. In other words, they don’t stop at just making the product but rather go the
extra mile in asking people to test their products for free to get feedback. Durex has been
on this worldwide campaign that encourages a specific number of people to use their products
at no extra cost every time they release a new type of condom. The goal is to find out
directly from users how the product fulfills their needs.