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CONTRACEPTION. 1996 Apr; 53(4):221-9.Condoms from five manufacturers were subjected to controlled exposures of heat, humidity, and air and to different natural environments in five countries. Under aerobic conditions (condoms in permeable packages or unpackaged), stress properties declined. The relationship between rate of decline as a function of temperature was quadratic. Under oxygen-restricted conditions (foil-wrapped packages) at average storage temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius and lower, strain properties declined with little or no significant change in stress properties. The effect is to cause condoms to become stiffer; high-breakage rates in use have been correlated with product stiffening. A new rationale for accelerated-aging tests to predict condom shelf stability is suggested, including a test to control the trend of condoms to stiffen. Silicone lubricant, impermeable packaging, and inclusion of antioxidants in the condom formulation can prevent or minimize aerobic breakdown of latex condoms. Specifying low-modulus condoms can prevent excessive stiffening. (author's)
[Unpublished] 1989 Mar. 5,  p.Researchers have estimated that normal condom breakage varies from .5%- 10% and deteriorated condom breakage ranked as high as 50%. These figures have prompted condom manufacturers to make condoms that meet international and national standards for leakage (<.4%). Yet condoms deteriorate when exposed to oxygen, humidity, ozone, or industrial pollutants. Family planning managers, especially those in tropical countries, must do quality monitoring of condoms in storage. they can do this by using sampling techniques that assure an adequate sample size to detect and quantify aging effects. In Indonesia and Bangladesh, burst volume tests indicated that the older the age of stored condoms the lower the amount of air required to burst them. Indeed aging reduces elasticity. Clinical studies involving repackaged condoms which were exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light for 0-10 hours in Seattle, Washington and in Indonesia showed that the risk of condom failure during used increased when burst volumes were <15 liters which compare with limits for air burst volume set by the International Organization for Standardization. Since packaging can protect condoms against environmental factors, it should be impenetrable to light, especially UV light, to radiant heat, to oxygen, and to water vapor. Further, antioxidants must be used in condom packaging. Accurate and clear instructions on consistent and correct use should accompany condoms. For example, mineral and vegetable oils directly on the latex deteriorates condoms. So packaging should instruct users not to lubricate condoms with these oils. In conclusion, researchers should conduct more stability studies on aging properties of condoms and on protection against environmental factors.