A report published by the Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) group identifies potentially harmful ingredients suppliers still use in feminine hygiene products. The organization aims to eliminate the use of these toxic chemicals to lessen the threat to women’s health.
Chemicals in Feminine Hygiene Products
The feminine care market in the U.S. is a $3 billion dollar industry. About 80 percent of women use feminine care products, with pads and tampons being the most popular.
Producers market these products as a necessity of personal hygiene. They advertise them using terms like “freshness,” “cleanliness” and “security.” This implies that using these products promotes good health. Yet, this may not be the case when you examine the actual ingredients used in these products.
The WVE performed an in-depth analysis of each major category of feminine hygiene products. Below is a summary of WVE’s findings.
The process of bleaching tampons with chlorine compounds may contaminate them with highly toxic dioxins. As well, tests have also shown that pesticides from non-organic cotton are present in tampons. The report states:
FDA guidance for the marketing of tampons recommends that tampons be “…free of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin(TCDD)/2,3,7,8-tetrachlorofuran dioxin (TCDF) and any pesticide and herbicide residues.” Unfortunately, this recommendation is not mandatory, and testing results reveal that both dioxins and pesticide residue are found in tampons.
2. Menstrual pads
There are various fragrances present in menstrual pads that can cause adverse reactions. Here’s what WVE says:
The fragrances used in pads are almost never disclosed to consumers, meaning women are unknowingly exposed to numerous possible chemicals. The absorbent material within the pad may also have been chlorine-bleached, posing the potential for dioxin or furan exposure. If the pad includes traditionally-grown cotton, the risk of pesticide residue exposure exists as well.
3. Feminine wipes
The whole idea behind feminine wipes is that they stay moist in their package. To make this happen, producers must use preservative chemicals that can cause allergic reactions and anogenital dermatitis. Here’s the list of these chemicals published in the report: