NEW TAMPON TESTING REVEALS UNDISCLOSED CARCINOGENS AND REPRODUCTIVE TOXINS

HARMFUL INGREDIENTS IN PERIOD PRODUCTS, BY WOMEN’S VOICES FOR THE EARTH (WVE)

NEW YORK – National women’s health nonprofit, Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE), has released independent product-testing results that reveal undisclosed toxic chemicals in tampons.

In March, WVE commissioned STAT Analysis to analyze volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds in a variety of different tampons purchased in New York stores, including organic, mainstream and dollar store brands.

The results of the testing detected carbon disulfide, a known reproductive toxin, in all four brands of tampons that contain rayon. Carbon disulfide is a chemical that is predominantly used in the manufacture of rayon; it was not detected in the all-cotton tampons that were tested. Additionally, some brands of tampons contained other volatile organic compounds including reproductive toxins, toluene and xylene, as well as carcinogen, methylene chloride. (Methylene chloride, commonly found in paint strippers, has made headlines recently for its link to over 50 deaths since 1980).

None of these chemicals are disclosed by the manufacturers. Instead, where disclosure exists, only basic components of tampons are listed, often using vague language such as ‘may contain:..’ and ‘rayon and/or cotton”.

Tampons are used by up to 85 percent of menstruating women in the U.S. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) offers relatively little regulation of menstrual products. Tampons, pads and menstrual cups are considered “medical devices” by the FDA and are not subject to ingredient labeling.

As a result, a full list of ingredients used in these products are rarely disclosed publicly.

Previous testing of tampons and menstrual pads have found pesticide residue, parabens and phthalates linked to hormone disruption, antibacterial chemicals like triclosan, and various carcinogens including styrene and chloroform.

Right to Know A new bill introduced by Assembly member Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan) requires disclosure of ingredients in menstrual products, including tampons, pads, menstrual cups and period underwear. If the bill passes, it would be the first such law to take effect in the nation.

Along with this disclosure bill, Rosenthal has championed other menstrual equity bills including no cost period products for menstruating individuals in New York’s schools, homeless shelters and correctional facilities, and led the way to eliminate the state’s tampon tax in 2016. To help support A.521A, women across the state of New York are using WVE’s Detox the Box Party Kits to raise awareness about the hazards of hidden and harmful chemicals in menstrual care products, and de-stigmatize periods and vaginal health.

A Detox the Box Party Kit includes fact sheets on harmful chemicals found in some menstrual products, a discussion guide, spoof videos that call-out harmful body-shaming marketing, and actions to take to ensure menstrual products are universally safe and accessible. Kits also include information on A.521A, and simple ways they can contact their assembly member, encouraging support for ingredient disclosure of period products.

Detox the Box Parties are currently being held in the following New York communities: Astoria, Bayport, Brooklyn, Cleveland, Cortland, Dunkirk, Farmingdale, Guilderland, Lake Grove, Montclair, New York, Niverville, Pelham, Rochester, Whitesboro.

 

ABOUT WOMEN’S VOICES FOR THE EARTH (WVE)

Founded in 1995, Women’s Voices for the Earth is a national environmental health organization that works to amplify women’s voices to eliminate toxic chemicals that harm our health and communities. WVE’s menstrual products work was launched in 2013 with the report, Chem Fatale, and has helped elevate the topic of period health into the public mainstream. www.womensvoices.org

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