Used Condoms Recycled Into Hair Bands?

Used condoms as hair bands? We’re all for recycling and everything, but this story pushes boundaries of good taste… and public health.

China Daily says that used condoms are being recycled and sold as hair bands in China. The condom bands are cheaper then bands that were not formerly prophylactics. The recycled condoms are quite popular, but risk infecting users with the diseases that they were meant to prevent.

“People could be infected with AIDS, warts or other diseases if they hold the rubber bands or strings in their mouths while weaving their hair into plaits or buns,” the paper quoted a local dermatologist as saying.

That’s just nasty. We wonder if this story will turn out like the cardboard food scandal.

Used condoms winding up in people’s hair [ via Digg]


Edit Your Comment

  1. DrGirlfriend says:

    I wonder how anyone could have thought of this in the first place. All scenarios I can come up with are too repulsive to entertain for longer than 1.3 seconds.

  2. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    Maybe it’s a two-products in one thing (a la “There’s Something About Mary”)?

  3. Meg Marco says:
  4. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:


    Oops — am I gonna get flagged for that? ;-)

    Like you said, I hope it turns out to be like the cardboard thing.

  5. howie_in_az says:

    Oh China, with your zany ways of killing people. What will you come up with next?

  6. MercuryPDX says:

    Just lobbing this out there, but once you heat the condoms up to melt/remold them, wouldn’t anything potentially dangerous be killed?

  7. Christovir says:

    I am very skeptical of the “local dermatologist’s” expertise. HIV only survives for a few minutes outside the human body, dies in sunlight, and needs to stay warm and moist to survive. I don’t see how it can stay alive on dry latex for the several days it would take to reprocess, repackage, and sell. Furthermore, HIV generally is not transmittable orally.

    Still, that’s nasty as all buggery.

  8. toolverine says:


    That’s what I was thinking. Many of us drink purified wastewater either through the tap or in bottled water without concern about its origins. I don’t see how this is different. You know, unless they’re taking used condoms, cutting a hole in them and then repackaging them.

  9. Christovir says:

    And am I correct that the condoms advertised on the far left appear to be made of denim??

  10. DrGirlfriend says:

    @Christovir: I’m not really sure whose pleasure denim condoms are supposed to be for, but I’m guessing not for “her”.

  11. Spyrojoe says:

    I just want to know who’s recycling their condoms?

  12. ionerox says:

    Even if you can’t catch anything from them…

  13. badgerette says:

    I’ve used the bands of the ends of unused condoms as hairbands before in situations of bushy long haired desperation. They are essentially rubber bands, after all. Where do they even get the used condoms anyway? I think this is bogus. I wonder if these are actually condoms that failed quality testing, and are then re purposed.

  14. parad0x360 says:

    I wonder how much they pay the guy to stand on a street corner collecting used condoms, or picking them out of trash bags and public toilets.

    I dont really see how disease can be spread like this. Yes its incredibly nasty but they have to melt the latex which should kill just about anything, and as for AIDS the virus is killed when it hits the air so…FUD?

  15. Roundonbothends says:

    Anybody else thing “Durex” reminds one of “duress?”

  16. statolith says:

    I really don’t believe for a second that anyone’s actually collecting used condoms. I’d believe that maybe expired, unused condoms could be used for this purpose, but still, it wouldn’t be practical to unwrap them for recycling, right? This can’t be real. (can it? o_O)

  17. QueenHawkeye says:

    @statolith: This is China we’re talking about…anything could happen.

  18. @Spyrojoe: The same guy who recycles toilet paper. I always laugh a little when I see “made from recycled paper” on the TP package.

  19. @statolith: I remember a story on this site a few months back where punching bags were filled with old laundry. It’s shocking that it doesn’t seem to take that much of a stretch to even wonder if this is true.

  20. krunk4ever says:

    @toolverine: I agree with guys too. What makes the authors of that article think these condoms won’t be cleaned, melted, and remade into regular hair bands? Are were they so naive to think condoms would be used, washed, and then resold as a hair band so that you actually have a condom hanging off the end of your hair…

  21. Voyou_Charmant says:

    Normally i would say “this by no means has the ability to effect public health”, but it is in China and it’s possible they added lead and anti-freeze in case it was otherwise safe.

  22. uricmu says:

    Sounds bogus to me. Like any recycling effort, there’s an issue of availability and gathering. Unless they’re contracting with one of Beijing’s “fine hosting establishments”, it doesn’t seem cost-effective to gather them from the population or from household trash.

  23. QuiteSpunky says:

    This has the all the trappings of an internet rumor. Take a ridiculous manufacturing premise, add a highly unlikely viral threat, attribute to an anonymous dermatologist and PRESTO! here we come.

  24. pyloff says:

    I eat pork infused carbo-structure every day. I look forward to jizz infused hair bands. Most important I look forward to AIDS infused products, and the chilling after effect.

  25. badhatharry says:

    I’m sorry, I don’t understand: Are they turning used condoms into Skid Row or Whitesnake?

  26. axylfyre says:

    Is there any reference to a brand name on these? I use clear hair bands myself. I surely do hope this is just a rumor..GAH

  27. TechnoDestructo says:

    WTF. If they were recycling them …like melting them down and making them into hair bands, it might be a little distasteful but shouldn’t be dangerous.

    This sounds more like REUSING them. Which is gross as hell.


    God, I hope so.

  28. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Now there’s one recycling bin I don’t want to see by the curb! @.@

  29. azntg says:

    Even if they autoclaved the rubber prior to making it into a hair band, that’s still gross!

  30. bombaxstar says:

    @badhatharry: I definetly laughed hardcore at that…

  31. kc-guy says:

    @badgerette: bushy long haired desperation?

    Should I even ask?

  32. Parting says:

    No more hair bands for me…


  33. EtherealStrife says:

    @statolith: They could be harvesting the Great Condom Reef.

  34. humorbot says:

    Seriously, can this possibly be true? Consider the practical necessities of such a plan: Do you toss your used condoms in the recycling bin when you’re done with them? Whether or not you happen to be having sex in China? And what army of unfortunate municipal workers is then tasked with sorting said used latex from the rest of the garbage and prepping them for transformation into hairbands? It’s also worth noting that latex does not possess the elasticity of rubber…

    Fact check? China? Anyone?

  35. dirtymoney says:

    Hmm…. recycled food …. now recycled condoms…. ( [] ) boy those chinese have some disturbing business practices!

  36. MercuryPDX says:

    OK… maybe I shouldn’t have googled…


  37. levenhopper says:

    @MercuryPDX: I could easily make that video myself. Cut up a condom, roll it up, and then cover it with thread.

    Start up the video camera, and do the whole process in reverse.

  38. trollkiller says:

    So do the ribbed ones hold the hair better?

  39. I read this article I found on Snopes in the weird news section under []

    This part made me laugh:

    “People could be infected with AIDS, (genital) warts or other diseases if they hold the rubber bands or strings in their mouths while waving their hair into plaits or buns,” the paper quoted a local dermatologist who gave only his surname, Dong, as saying.

    This reminds me of the reporter who thought Heywood Jablome was a real guy.

  40. kerrington.steele says:

    oh if only the far-right condoms were named Jizzbon instead …

  41. jollymonjeff says:

    Great, now I have another blue bin to add recyling to. One more thing to drag to the curb.

  42. @badgerette, @statolith: That has to be the case. They are using unused condoms. PLEASE let them be using unused condoms. It doesn’t make sense to use used condoms. How is it cheaper to go around gathering up used condoms?

  43. Rachelattack says:

    Urm, does the boxes on the far right of that picture actually say “jissbon”?

  44. Rachelattack says:

    Do, DO the boxes…

  45. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @badhatharry: The big sellers are the Poison and Winger versions.

    @Rachelattack: Yep Jissbon…almost like they know this will be used for Buka….umm never mind.

  46. PoisonPixie says:

    I want to shake the person’s hand who thought up jizz+bonnet=Jissbon! I bet “jizz bonnet” is the literal translation of “condom” in Chinese.

  47. PoisonPixie says:

    @Nemesis_Enforcer: Um, Bukake is a Japanese thing, not Chinese….and it certainly doesn’t involve condoms.

  48. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @PoisonPixie: I am aware that it came from Japan. But there are varieties that use condoms to collect the umm liquid. Also there are varieties that do other things…trying not to go into details.

  49. @Spyrojoe: Exactly . . . If they want me to put them out on the curb, the city is going to have to provide me with a bin.

  50. christoj879 says:

    @badgerette: I just did this today. I couldn’t find one for the life of me, and then I thought of this article and 30 seconds later I had a working hair band.