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 and thickness.
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.