Now that the bill to require menstrual product ingredient disclosure on the packaging has become law, every single New Yorker who uses tampons and pads will know exactly what’s in the products they use.
Across the world, periods are often stigmatized, and women and young girls who menstruate are often shamed. New York became the first state in the nation to advance period equity through statute, in the process raising awareness about periods, how to access menstrual hygiene products and ensuring these products are safe.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a federal agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the control and supervision of food safety, pharmaceutical drugs (medications), medical devices, cosmetics, etc. Currently, menstrual products are categorized as medical devices by the FDA, meaning that manufacturers are not federally required to disclose the products' ingredients on the packaging.
Tampons, pads and other menstrual products are widely used by women across the United States, but they are often marketed and sold with little or no information about the ingredients they contain. These menstrual products may contain toxic and allergenic chemicals that can cause significant health concerns.
The first to progress
New York has recently become the first state in the nation to require period product makers to disclose ingredients. There is no federal requirement to do so, and only a few companies provide this vital information.
On the United Nations’ International Day Of The Girl (October 11), Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation (S.2387-B/A.164-B) requiring menstrual product packages or boxes sold in New York State to contain a plain and conspicuous printed list of all the ingredients in the products.
Menstrual products may contain "toxic and allergenic chemicals" that are not federally required to be disclosed, Cuomo's office said in a statement.
The original bill, as introduced by Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal last year, requires manufacturers to disclose the ingredient percentages, as well as any chemicals or chemical by-products in tampons, sanitary napkins, menstrual cups, and period underwear. The bill also called for labels on single-use dispensers.
This new law makes New York the first state in the nation to require ingredient labels on menstrual products. The legislation will take effect in 180 days, and product manufacturers will have 18 months to develop new packaging or labels with the ingredients.
Requiring the disclosure of ingredients in menstrual products will allow women and girls to make more informed decisions about the products they use.
Violations of the law will be subject to civil penalties equal to one percent of the manufacturer’s total annual in-state sales, up to $1,000 per package or box (sold, presumably).
Better information on possible risks
The law comes in response to concerns raised by women’s health advocacy groups about the supposed prevalence of toxic substances — allergens, carcinogens, and endocrine disruptors — in feminine products.
These groups cite to research that found volatile organic compounds (including methylene chloride, toluene, xylenes) and phthalates in testing of 11 brands of menstrual pads sold in the U.S., as well as other products sold in Europe and Asia.
These groups assert that menstrual products pose particular risks due to the sensitive bodily tissues in which they are in contact, which potentially allows chemicals to absorb readily into the bloodstream.
Now that the bill to require menstrual product ingredient disclosure on packaging has become law, every single New Yorker who uses tampons and pads will know exactly what’s in the products they use in and on some of the most sensitive parts of their bodies for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, one week out of the year for as many as 40 years.
Finally, through new disclosure requirements, girls and women will be better informed about ingredients in period products that may be linked to breast cancer and other chronic diseases.
A toxin-free option
At Genial Day, we are particularly happy to hear the good news. After all, the brand was founded when, after consulting with gynecologists and dermatologists, we learned that period pain and vaginal infections can be caused not only by hormones but also by bacteria, toxic chemicals and synthetic materials found in pads and tampons.
Our founder, Vilmante, was on a quest to find the best pads which would not only be healthy, toxin-free but also have a great absorbency. She has discovered that there is a textile used in health care that incorporates silver and tourmaline; both have great health benefits, especially for women during a period.
Genial Day pads and liners have revolutionized the feminine hygiene product market by creating a new niche of organic high-performance products: luxurious, but not by their price tag; eco-certified, but featuring great absorption and functionality. Our skin-friendly, air permeable, and toxin-free pads and liners with an Anion strip provide women ultimate comfort and peace of mind.
Our goal is to make beautiful, fashionable underwear and premium quality pads and liners with minimal impact on the environment and human health. Our partner factories are certified with ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice). Our underwear factory is a member of the DETOX campaign–a global eco-initiative by Greenpeace–and is certified with Global Organic Textile Standard, as well as Organic Content Standard.
All our products are tested and approved by Oeko-Tex® 100 and VEGAN certified. The pads and liners are dermatologically tested and certified by Made for Health®, indicating no skin irritation.
We expect other U.S. states to follow New York‘s good example and require an ingredient list on menstrual product packages, in a move that will empower women to make their own decisions about what goes into their bodies. It's part of the pervasive culture of inequality in our society that has gone on for too long, and let that injustice ends today as more and more federal governments mandate ingredient disclosure.