PERIOD products are among the most important purchases we make.
Millions of British women and girls of childbearing age rely on a range of products every month, from tampons to pads to period underwear.
Nonetheless, reports have surfaced in recent years suggesting that some of these products may pose a risk to women’s health.
Several plumbing products contain chemicals called PFAS, short for polyfluoroalkyl substances.
Also known as “Forever Chemicals,” high doses of these substances have been linked to liver, kidney, testicular, and thyroid cancer.
PFAS are also associated with elevated cholesterol levels and reproductive and developmental problems.
The toxic substances are found everywhere, including in drinking water, non-stick pans, food packaging, carpets and furniture.
A recent report even found toxic substances lurking in contact lenses.
A series of laboratory analyzes commissioned by consumer protection site Mamavation and Environmental Health News found that 48 percent of sanitary napkins, incontinence pads and panty liners contained PFAS.
Also, about 22 percent of tampons and 65 percent of period underwear contained the chemicals, which can be dangerous in high concentrations.
Detectable levels of a chemical were found in five popular brands of tampons and 22 types of pads – some of which are even advertised as organic – strongly suggesting the presence of PFAS.
The pads and tampons reportedly containing evidence of PFAS include:
- Cardboard Tampax tampons with unscented applicator
- Always Discreet 360 Form Fit Maximum underwear
- Always No Feel Protection Thin Liner
- Amazon Basics Daily long length panty liners
Most studies looking at the health risks of PFAS focus on what happens when the chemicals enter your bloodstream, rather than skin-to-skin contact, said Dr. Frances Yarlett, General Practitioner and Medical Director of The Lowdown.
She told The Sun: “There is currently very little research into how exposure to PFAS from period products on the skin may affect levels in your bloodstream, although some small studies suggest there may be a link. “
“Obviously it’s something we’d like to learn more about in the future.”
If you’re concerned about PFAS, choose period pants or sanitary products made from organic cotton, recommends Dr. Fran.
On behalf of menstrual product manufacturers, the Absorbent Hygiene Product Manufacturers Association (AHPMA) and the European Disposables and Nonwovens Association (EDANA) responded to The Sun: “Sometimes trace amounts of contamination can be found in absorbent hygiene products such as sanitary and sanitary incontinence products.”
However, these contaminants (PFAS) are present in the environment or naturally at “much higher levels,” they explained.
“Our members apply strict quality and hygiene criteria, from raw materials to production processes, to prevent contamination from ubiquitous contaminants.
“Our members also regularly test their products for the presence of background substances in external laboratories. These reports confirm that our products are safe and that women can safely use them,” they added.