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Author Topic: Pony Cancer or Beauty Marks?  (Read 422 times)

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Offline banditpony

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Re: Pony Cancer or Beauty Marks?
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2017, 03:38:10 PM »
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btw I think it's so great that you were able to find that info out! Any info on why some ponies are more prone to it?

According to the book (which was written by a scientist who specializes in plastics, so I feel pretty confident passing along the info).

- fungus likes to have a surface it can cling to, porous vinyl is perfect for this
- fungus likes to feed off of plasticizer
- if the humidity is too high the items in the area will take a fungal hit, whether or not an item in the area already has the spots

Since some ponies are more prone to plasticizer leakage (it has to do with the way the vinyl was formulated, some toys got the mix right and others didn't), it would make sense that if those are stored where the conditions are right, they would be more prone having the spots show up.

So the discoloration on ponies that are prone to leak plasticizer are from fungus, not the breaking apart of the vinyl because fungus feeds on plasticizer?

Just clarifying cuz it's really interesting. I remember spots on 4 speed and/or chief back somewhere between 92~96 and they weren't really stored in an area where humidity was too much of concern. We noticed regrind at the same time period. As kids, it seemed similar.
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Offline Motion-Paradox

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Re: Pony Cancer or Beauty Marks?
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2017, 06:54:32 PM »
Perhaps Bromine spots then if it's caused by the bromine in the plastic separating? Honestly neither term really seems accurate; for most of the brown spots there's nothing that can be done, while cancer's survival rate has increased quite a bit over the years. As for beauty spot, I know it sounds nicer, but it isn't really accurate either since the marks are caused by the formula of the plastic destablising; it's a bit hard to describe exactly what my thoughts are, I suppose that it's a bigger issue than wheither we view it positively or negatively

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Re: Pony Cancer or Beauty Marks?
« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2017, 01:36:42 AM »
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So the discoloration on ponies that are prone to leak plasticizer are from fungus, not the breaking apart of the vinyl because fungus feeds on plasticizer?

Just clarifying cuz it's really interesting. I remember spots on 4 speed and/or chief back somewhere between 92~96 and they weren't really stored in an area where humidity was too much of concern. We noticed regrind at the same time period. As kids, it seemed similar.

No, the staining is the waste from the fungus.  The plasticizer separates from the vinyl, but all that happens is the vinyl hardens.  The fungus and the leaking plasticizer aren't necessarily related.  I'm just saying that it would make sense if ponies prone to leaking plasticizer are also more prone to having the spots show up.  Fungus can feed on a lot of stuff, so it wouldn't be only ponies leaking plasticizer that would have the spots show up.  For example, powders like baking soda, corn starch, baby powder, are all really bad for them as they'll cause a fungus dinner party under the right conditions.

As for the spots on your brother ponies, that's beyond what I know about.  Maybe fluctuations in temperature somehow effect regrind?  I have a suspicion that some of the spots so common in white ponies have to do with titanium dioxide reacting to oxygen and UV light, but I haven't been able to confirm that it was used in these ponies' dyes.  It's so common in white paint though, it wouldn't surprise me.
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Offline Baby Sugarberry

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Re: Pony Cancer or Beauty Marks?
« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2017, 05:42:54 AM »
That can't be the whole story though - we know, from evidence, that ponies are capable of having full body plasticizer breakdown/separation, inside and out.  So why would fungus only show up as pinpoint round dots, and never as a full body spread?

  For that matter, you'd think we'd see far more cases where the damage was worse on the inside rather than the outside, given how many ponies have had baths or otherwise gotten dunked, as proven by rusty tails or washers.  Mould/fungus need moisture to survive, not just food.   The problem is far more complex than just "X results in Y", as I said before - spots on ponies is a multi-vector issue.. 

As for the brown splotches so common on certain white ponies and big brothers, I'm fairly confident in saying that they're chemical in nature.  I've had my collection in near ideal storage (no direct light, not sealed, <40% humidity, 18-21C) for nearly 30 years, and I've seen it develop under those conditions. 
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Offline Tiffoes

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Re: Pony Cancer or Beauty Marks?
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2017, 11:30:11 AM »
This thread is a really interesting read! I somewhat agree with the others voicing their dislike of the term "pony cancer". As someone that has lost her mother at a young age due to that terrible disease, I've always felt more comfortable calling them "pony pox". :blush:

Offline FarDreamerTopic starter

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Re: Pony Cancer or Beauty Marks?
« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2017, 05:35:44 PM »
That can't be the whole story though - we know, from evidence, that ponies are capable of having full body plasticizer breakdown/separation, inside and out.  So why would fungus only show up as pinpoint round dots, and never as a full body spread?

- I'm not saying that every spot ever is fungus, just that a lot of what we thought was other things ended up being fungus all along.  It does show up all over their body, we've all seen ponies with multiple spots of it.  If you've ever grown mold in a petri dish you'll see this, it often forms in circles in different spots.  Or on a piece of bread I'm sure you've seen it before.  I think if you left a pony in the right conditions long enough they would get completely covered.

 For that matter, you'd think we'd see far more cases where the damage was worse on the inside rather than the outside,   

- The fungal spores are floating around in the environment and they'll attach to whatever they hit first when the conditions are right.  It does grow on the inside too, I'm sure we've all cleaned out plenty of green ponies.  The specific fungus that causes pink staining does live inside the doll.  My guess is that the one that causes the brown staining we think of as these spots prefers the conditions outside the doll.

As for the brown splotches so common on certain white ponies and big brothers, I'm fairly confident in saying that they're chemical in nature.  I've had my collection in near ideal storage (no direct light, not sealed, <40% humidity, 18-21C) for nearly 30 years, and I've seen it develop under those conditions. 

- I think so too.  I would like to confirm if they used titanum dioxide in the dye for the white ponies.  It's pretty ubiquitous in white paints, and it interacts with UV light and oxygen.  We can't really avoid oxygen so no matter how the toy is stored there could be a reaction with it. (Edit, this is incorrect, TiO2 is chemically stable and so won't react with oxygen or water.  It absorbs UV light, but I can't find anything indicating that would cause browning.  Please forgive the mistake.)

I found this, it sounds like it may explain how fungus might aid in the deterioration of vinyl:  You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login  I'm on my rather short lunch break right now, so I don't have time to go through it entirely, but I'll read it when I get home.  There are plenty of diagrams and photos explaining how fungus/mold grows and spreads too.  Maybe these will explain a few things we're seeing.

I really do move on to researching other issues ponies have between these conversations.  I know I'm always posting about fungus, lol.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2017, 01:21:54 AM by FarDreamer »
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Offline Wardah

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Re: Pony Cancer or Beauty Marks?
« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2017, 02:43:24 AM »
I thought the point of this thread wasn't really what causes them to happen but about the idea of viewing them as giving a pony character instead of as a flaw like we currently do. And the I don't really think I could get behind that unless it doesn't look like a flaw.
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