WHAT'S IN YOUR MENSTRUAL PRODUCTS?!
What it is:
The Menstrual Products Right to Know Act is a bill that if passed, will require ALL menstrual products such as menstrual cups, pads, tampons, and douches to include a list of ingredients on the label.
Wait, that doesn’t exist already?!
Nope. The Food and Drug Administration lump these menstrual hygiene products into the “Medical Devices” category (along with dental floss). So the Administration requires that general information be released, but not the specific ingredients in the products. Though some companies voluntarily disclose their ingredients, this information cannot be verified without some form of regulation in place.
OK. But why is this important?
Most people who menstruate will use thousands and thousands of tampons in their lifetime, yet we currently have no federal law that requires the disclosure of the ingredients in these products...ingredients like the chemical Dioxin which is a contaminant that can be left on tampons throughout the bleaching process. The FDA believes that the levels of Dioxin are not high enough to pose risks for anyone using them a few times a month. But, the vagina is a highly absorbent part of the body- meaning there is a higher likelihood of whatever you put in there getting into your bloodstream.
Here is a list of more questionable ingredients in your period products (That’s right, there’s a whole list!)
Where is the bill at?
The bill was introduced in 2017 and it has not yet been passed. You can follow the progress here.
What can I do to help it pass?
Amazingly, this past year the bill has had enough support that "feminine care" (new name please!) product giants are starting to disclose their ingredients on their own (though, there is no fact-checking). Continue to contact your local representatives. This amazing non-profit offers an online form that will immediately send out a direct message to your representative, based on your zip code.
By: Alisa Festagallo, CA