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Toxic ingredients in your tampons: Here’s what you can do about it


safer tampons and pads Pin It
Photo: Stocksy/Suzanne Clements

How many times have you questioned whether your menstrual products are safe? I mean, you’d think they’re sold in stores because they’re totally vetted and clean, right? Actually, no. There are a number of toxic ingredients lurking in tampons, and you might even find things like acetone and chloroform in pads. (Yikes.)

“There’s virtually no information available about any research that’s been done to determine whether the products we’re using the most intimate part of our body are actually safe,” says Jamie McConnell, director of programs and policy at Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE), a nonprofit organization that fights against toxic chemical exposure in all forms. “We really want people to realize this is a hugely overlooked women’s health issue, and it keeps getting kicked to the curb.”

“This is a hugely overlooked women’s health issue and it keeps getting kicked to the curb.”

Thankfully, some badass women are trying to do something about it. First up: a march on Capitol Hill on May 23 to demand transparency in your menstrual products.

“This rally is actually a couple of years in the making,” says Beth Conway, communications director at WVE. “It’s to help raise awareness about this issue and about two key bills being introduced to Congress.”

safe feminine care products
Photo: Stocksy/Marko Milanovic

The bills in question are Rep. Grace Meng’s Menstrual Product Right to Know Act, which would require pad and tampon ingredients to be disclosed on labels, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s Robin Danielson Act, to study the health effects and safety of feminine care products. (BTW both congresswomen represent different parts of New York City—let’s hear it for the Big Apple’s menstrual realness.)

If you can’t make it to DC for the May 23 rally, don’t sweat it—you can participate by contacting your local representatives in Congress and urge them to vote for these bills. Because you shouldn’t have to worry about risking your health just by taking care of your monthly business.

If you can’t trust your tampons, at least you can now work out in period-proof shorts. And in other news in the women’s product realm, read about why this is the year of “femtech.”