‘Chem Fatale’ Report Highlights Dangers in Feminine Care Products

Hormone disruptors, carcinogens, among toxic chemicals found in tampons, douches, wipes and more

A new report “Chem Fatale” by Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) details how the feminine care industry sells products containing unregulated and potentially harmful chemicals, including preservatives, pesticides, fragrances and dyes. This report provides yet another example of unnecessary and toxic chemicals used in products Vermonters use every day.

“First we learned there’s lead in VPR mugs, and now we find out some tampons contain toxins,” stated Lauren Hierl, environmental health advocate at VPIRG. “It’s never been more clear that Vermont can’t wait for federal action to protect us from exposure to dangerous chemicals – our state needs to better protect Vermonters by implementing a comprehensive chemical safety law to make sure we aren’t putting unnecessary and harmful chemicals on or in our bodies.”

Tampons are used by up to 85 percent of menstruating women and may contain dioxins or pesticide residues linked to cancer, hormone disruptors, allergens and irritants from fragrance.

Current regulations on chemicals used in feminine care products are not sufficient to protect public health, and often don’t require the ingredient disclosure needed to assess safety, according to WVE’s report. Tampons and pads are regulated as medical devices, which means that companies are not required to disclose any ingredients in these products. Other feminine care products, regulated as cosmetics, must label their ingredients, but any fragrance ingredients can be kept secret from consumers.

The report also includes a “Hall of Shame” appendix highlighting examples of feminine care products that contain toxic chemicals by brand name. The report kicks off a new campaign that will target Proctor & Gamble, makers of Tampax and Always, to disclose the ingredients in tampons and pads and eliminate toxic chemicals, and to encourage consumers to demand more government oversight of the $3 billion feminine care industry.

Read the full report here.