Transparency

Under pressure, feminine product manufacturers are publishing their ingredients

Protesters at a rally outside Procter & Gamble's corporate headquarters on Oct. 13, 2015. (Jessica Ebelhar/The New York Times)

Manufacturers of feminine hygiene products are not legally required to disclose all of the components that go into their products, but over the past few weeks, Proctor & Gamble and Kimberly Clark have published online lists of the ingredients in their tampons and pads. The move comes in the face of pressure from legislators, women’s organizations and health advocates, who are concerned about the lack of transparency surrounding the production of feminine products. Many companies, for example, will simply list “fragrance” as an ingredient on their packaging; the group Women’s Voices for the Earth says that fragrances often include potentially worrisome chemicals, like styrene and chloroform. Manufacturers have by and large stopped using ingredients that have been linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome (a rare, but very serious illness associated with tampon use), but advocates are concerned about whether or not tampons and pads may cause long-term effects like allergies. Carolyn B. Maloney, a Democrat from New York who has pushed for further studies into feminine product safety, called the recent ingredient disclosures “a step in the right direction.” She also noted, however, that these ingredient lists “are still very limited.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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