The safety of feminine hygiene products like sanitary pads, panty liners, tampons or menstrual cups have been under the spotlight after the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) found small amounts of hazardous chemicals in these feminine intimate products in June 2018.

This French agency calls for restrictions and urges the concerned manufacturers to improve the quality of the raw materials used in manufacturing the products.

In this research, ANSES called for certain restrictions under REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) to limit the use of carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic (CMR) substances in manufacturing of these products.

Currently the composition, manufacture and use of these products are not governed by any specific regulation. Although, these are subjected to horizontal legislation, mainly the GPSD or the General Product Safety Directive.

Raw materials in the products are to be blamed!

In July 2018, on investigation, ANSES caught traces of artificial fragrances, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) and pesticides in these products with carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic or CMR, which are identified as cancer causing chemicals.

The products also had chemicals with potentially harmful and disrupting properties for the endocrine system and the skin. Some of those pesticides found in the feminine products such as such as lindane and quintozene are actually banned in the European Union. Can you believe that? Millions of girls and women trust these products and actually had no clue what they really were made of!

Hold on, before you start cursing the manufacturers. Actually, most of the harmful substances were not supposed to be a part of the product. They were not intentionally added to the products, except for the ones giving out the fragrance.

Although ANSES’s outcome showed that the amounts of those harmful chemicals were so low that they would not pose a risk. But still, ANSES is still of the opinion that the manufacturers should work towards the improvement of quality of their raw materials. ANSES also advised to revise some of the production processes in order to eliminate the harms and risks involved.

Earlier also, before the research by ANSES, Kemi, the Swedish Chemicals Agency had pointed out to the risks and negative health hazards in various feminine hygiene products. But it also said that the harmful components were very low in those products and they did not put a bigger risk. Kemi had listed down a total of 21 chemicals which were either hazardous or suspected to be so in about 35 products that they had analysed.

Let’s get to the case of Menstrual Cups. In the research, it was found out that three siloxanes were used in some of the menstrual cups. But, the risk assessment could not be completed on those products as there was no sufficient information available about them. Siloxanes were present in very low concentrations in the menstrual cups, much lower than those that the EU companies are obliged to report for the SVHC or the Substances of Very High Concern. The results did not reflect any health risk.

What Next?

For now, authorities or producers are compelled not to disclose the list of products or ingredients marked under the GPSD. However, it is stated that only those safe products which are absolutely safe should be placed on the market. Also, the producers are solely responsible for the safety of those.

Authorities are now responsible to take serious action if any such unsafe products are found in the market.

Make sure you read the components, manufacturing and ingredients of any such feminine products.

Choose your Intimate Products Wisely


What’s Inside?– Many brands manufacturing female intimate products, especially sanitary pads claim to give natural sanitary pads. But the reality is that most of them do not provide the natural sanitary pads because only the top sheet of the pad is “natural”. So, make sure to check the composition and manufacturing details of the sanitary pad you are going to buy.Sanitary pads composed of corn starch and bamboo fiber are the new and better approach and are a better solution for those rainy days.

Hygienic Disposal- This is the one aspect that most women turn a blind eye to. Proper disposal of sanitary pads is very essential.

Keep in mind and look for a Healthy environment- Choose sanitary pads that are safe for your body and also healthy for the environment. Biodegradable pads win the race in maintaining environmental health. Such pads get decomposed much faster as compared to the synthetic pads that take a really long time to decompose.

 

References:

In this research, ANSES ……… [Research by French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety in 2018 ]

ANSES called for certain restrictions under REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals)

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