Condoms rise to the occasion in breakage and leakage tests

Reliability improving despite certain brands and models that are potentially risky

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 August, 2013, 5:06pm
UPDATED : Friday, 16 August, 2013, 3:43am

Almost all condoms tested by the Consumer Council have received a thumbs-up when it comes to not bursting under pressure.

Of 15,545 prophylactics tested by the council, 99.89 per cent passed the burst test, although three brands failed, the council said yesterday.

The council selected 43 latex and polyurethane condoms under nine brands with different ranges for leakage and strength tests, using 315 samples from each range.

A total of 15 samples - one in every 1,000 - across 12 ranges leaked. Four of the samples that failed were the same range, the Unity Comfort Fit Ultra Lite Ultimate Pleasure, which exceeded the council's standard of a maximum of two failures per 315 samples. No country of origin was specified on its packaging.

Some 114 samples - 10 in every 1,000 - failed the test for strength, after being inflated until they burst.

The failures occurred over 26 ranges, with 13 WonderLife Fruit Flavour condoms failing and 28 Masculan Type 1 Sensitive range not making the grade.

Both ranges exceeded the limit of 10 failures per 315 samples. Both were labelled as having been made in Malaysia, the council said.

"Although the failure rates in both tests [were] relatively low … even one failed condom is too many," said Philip Leung Kwong-hon, a member of the council's research and testing panel.

Polyurethane condoms did better in the pressure test than the latex ones, he said.

"Overall, we do see improvements, but if we can remove some high-risk products, it will benefit the market a lot," he said

The Customs and Exercise Department had independently tested three unsatisfactory ranges based on the council's report and had required the importers and retailers of one range to stop selling it, the council said.

It refused to disclose the brand of the failed sample.

Jacky Cheng Sai-kin, a marketing manager at WonderLife, said the samples for the test were produced last year, when the company's factory had been in Malaysia, but that it had moved its factory to Thailand in March in order to improve product quality.

The Consumer Council has now conducted eight rounds of condom tests.