Hearings held by the California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health aren’t exactly exciting. But when 100 performers from the adult film industry attended one in downtown Los Angeles recently to discuss new safety regulations for porn sets, well, the language got pretty spicy. Phrases such as vaginal excretion, fecal matter and mucous membrane came up. With language like that, the four hour government regulatory meeting just flew by for me as I sat there. From my story (Daily News, June 7, 2011):
Lawyers nitpicked at the definition of the word genitalia. Performers groaned at the suggestion they wear goggles while having sex on film. And state of California bureaucrats declared they care deeply about the pornography industry.
In a four-hour hearing Tuesday that ranged from thick legalese to graphic descriptions of sex acts, officials and performers clashed over proposals for new safety regulations on the porn industry.
State officials insisted they were trying to protect those who make a living in the industry, not drive them out of state or shut them down.
But many performers and executives insisted tougher regulations would simply drive the multi-billion dollar industry out of state or underground. And they said the state’s ideas for better protections on set were simply not practical for film.
“It’s at the point where we feel we’ll be working in hazmat suits,” said adult performer Ela Darling.
The hearing was held in downtown Los Angeles by the state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health.
Attorneys and performers alike dissected Cal/OSHA’s 17-page proposal that mingled government legalese with sexually explicit language, including the occupational hazards of bodily secretions and the piercing of mucous membranes.
The draft, a result of a year of discussions and meetings with state health experts, underscored the use of condoms as a way to protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Technically, condoms on porn sets have been required under state law since 1993, but production companies have skirted the regulation.
Now, Cal/OSHA is proposing additional standards that include testing for sexually transmitted diseases every 10 days among those who perform oral sex without condoms, new rules for cleaning and disposal of clothing and fabrics on sets, and the availability of items such as gloves and eye protection.
Like Darling, many performers agreed that the well established industry protocol of testing for HIV and other diseases every 30 days works better than government interference to protect them from diseases. The state’s proposal doesn’t mention such testing, angering many of the performers.
“I think the intentions are good, but the proposals are unrealistic in the industry,” said Nicki Hunter, a performer and host on Playboy radio. “If this does pass, the industry will move to Nevada.”