California officials in charge of workplace safety voted down on Thursday a proposal that would have required porn actors to wear condoms, dental dams and goggles to prevent sexually transmitted infections.
The state’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted down the measure 3 to 2, after failing to garner the necessary four yes votes from the seven-member panel.
The decision was handed down after dozens of porn actors, writers, directors and producers testified during a day-long public hearing that the stringent regulations would have harmed the multibillion-dollar industry.
“These regulations were based in stigma rather than science, and would have severely hurt adult performers,” said Eric Paul Leue, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, a trade association for the adult entertainment industry.
“Finally, workers in the industry were heard, their concerns were heard.”
He said his organization looked forward to working with state officials on a new regulation for worker safety.
“The industry has never been opposed to condoms but what performers so wonderfully and eloquently said today -- ‘performers should be in charge of what enters their body or not,’“ Leue said.”
He said protocols were already in place in the industry to ensure against sexually transmitted infections but these safety measures had been ignored by the board.
“We hope that the division will now be open to a meaningful conversation and to accept the industry to the table when trying to build regulation for the industry,” Leue said.
Dave Thomas, chairman of the Standards Board, said during the hearing that although the panel failed to adopt the proposal, condoms were still required under existing bloodborne pathogens standard in California.
“I know a lot of you don’t want to realize it, you are already required to wear condoms,” he said. “That’s already the law, that’s the way it is.”
Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a non-profit that has been pushing for the new rules since 2009, said his organization was disappointed by Thursday’s decision and planned to file a new petition with the Standards Board.
The majority of adult movies are made in California and film producers are required to implement measures to protect actors from sexually transmitted infections.
However, the regulations don’t specify that actors must wear condoms or other protective gear.
According to a study conducted in Los Angeles and published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases in 2012, 28 percent of adult film workers tested positive for gonorrhoea and/or chlamydia.
The majority of those who took part in the four-month study said they did not use condoms.