Period product manufacturers disclose ingredients, but health groups want more data

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“Period product ingredients unveiled”
Chemical & Engineering News

Consumers can now find ingredient information on most packages of period care products after a New York right-to-know law took effect in 2021. However, health advocacy groups are concerned that these lists are not detailed enough, and the chemicals found in pads, tampons and other products haven’t been adequately tested for safety, according to a cover story in Chemical & Engineering News, an independent news outlet of the American Chemical Society.

Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration classifies period products as medical devices, manufacturers are not legally required to disclose ingredients. Although the New York law only applies to products sold in the state, a recent report by the advocacy group Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) also found ingredients listed on products sold in other states, since many manufacturers opt for a single label, writes Senior Correspondent Cheryl Hogue. Even with the increased availability of these disclosures, WVE is still concerned that many of the listed chemicals haven’t been tested for use on the permeable skin of the vulva and vagina. Additionally, the advocacy group wants manufacturers to provide more ingredient detail. For example, some packages only list product components as their general function (e.g., “adhesive” or “fragrance”) rather than the specific chemical, which WVE claims limits consumers’ abilities to make informed purchasing decisions.

The New York law is the first of its kind, but a similar California law will take effect in 2023. It will also require ingredients to be listed on the packages of period products but makes an exception for those that are considered confidential business information, a provision WVE criticized. The Center for Baby and Adult Hygiene Products (BAHP), an industry group, has made available an online glossary that explains the purpose behind the ingredients used in period products. It also states it is working with federal and state lawmakers to develop labeling guidelines that will provide consistent and clear information for consumers.

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