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    Relationship of condom strength to failure during use.

    Program for the Introduction and Adaptation of Contraceptive Technology [PIACT]

    Piact Product News. 1980 Oct; 2(2):1-2.

    Less-than-ideal environmental conditions, especially in developing countries with tropical or desert climates, prolonged storage times because of unpredictable supply and distribution, and inexperience with warehousing and logistics causing haphazard turnover of stocks can accelerate deterioration of condoms and render them unsuitable for use. As condom strength standards have never been related directly to failure during use, a Program for the Introduction and Adaptation of Contraceptive Technology (PIACT) study, in collaboration with Planned Parenthood of Seattle-King County, Washington, was conducted to determine the actual relationship between condom strength and failure during use (see July 1980 issue of Contraception). The study found that: 1) air burst test parameters can effectively and sensitively measure changes in condom strength; 2) condoms produced by Western industrial standards exceed by a wide margin the minimum strength required for effective use; and 3) stored condoms should not necessarily be thrown out if they are uniform in strength, even though they fall below accepted standards for new condoms. The study also brought out the issue of condom packaging. The potent deteriorating effect of ultraviolet light on condoms is well-known, and it is therefore suggested that condoms be packaged in foil or opaque laminates on both sides. A separate study requested by the U.S. Agency for International Development investigating the relationship between the 2 tests for condom strength (air burst standards as used in the PIACT study and tensile strength measurements) showed that air burst data and tensile strength parameters closely reflected the same characteristics, thus providing support for the use of air burst strength measurements for predicting useful life of stored condoms.
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