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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 26, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 09
California work safety officials vote down condom use in the porn industry
Section One
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California work safety officials vote down condom use in the porn industry

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Cal/OSHA, the California agency charged with enforcing workplace safety rules, has voted not to require porn actors to use condoms.

The agency was considering a 21-page set of safety standards that included the condom provision at its February 18 meeting, but only three members of the Cal/OSHA board voted for the new rule. Four votes were required for passage.

Under the proposal, so-called 'engineering controls,' including condoms, would be required to reduce the risk of transmitting STDs during filming. Porn producers would also have been required to pay for medical visits, treatments, and other health care costs for their performers.

Los Angeles County, once the center of the porn industry, passed an ordinance requiring porn actors to wear condoms in 2012, but the rule does not apply to the whole state.

Before the vote, the safety board heard more than five hours of testimony from porn actors and producers, most of whom opposed the condom rule.

Some said that imposing stricter safety regulations would cause porn producers to move to less regulated locations or to shoot underground films without any state supervision at all. Since the 2012 passage of the Los Angeles County law, many producers have moved their studios to places without health and safety regulations.

'I ask you not to approve this policy that will endanger me and my colleagues,' porn actress Maxine Holloway said.

Other speakers said that their audience loses interest in a film where actors wear condoms.

'Like it or not, there a very real market demand for condomless sex,' said a woman who identified herself as a sex worker.

Some speakers claimed to be worried that Cal/OSHA would eventually begin ordering actors to use safety goggles and dental dams, adding that no one would want to see a film with that equipment.

'That's pure fantasy on their part,' said AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) CEO Michael Weinstein. 'People have suffered serious consequences due to lack of regulation in this industry.'

AHF was the main backer of the Los Angeles County condom ordinance and also lined up a number of former porn actors to testify before the Cal/OSHA board.

One of the AHF speakers, Derrick Burts, said he contracted HIV while making porn films and that it might have been prevented had he been required to wear condoms.

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