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  • Writer's pictureVolume 82 Magazine

Cancerous "Forever Chemicals" Found in Underwear, Tampon Wrappers, and Other Female Products

The Washington Post reported that "New research has found "forever chemicals" in the lining of period underwear, the wrappers of tampons, and in other menstruation products. Forever chemicals, or PFAS, are man-made compounds that can potentially accumulate in the body over time and take years to break down in nature. PFAS, which stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, have been implicated in a number of serious health effects, including some cancers, high blood pressure, disruption of the endocrine system, and developmental problems in children. Forever chemicals, such as polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances are linked to infertility, thyroid problems and several types of cancer, according to The Washington Post." According to NBC News, Cancer among women is increasing, "A recent study shows some types of cancers are on the rise in younger adults, finding that early onset cancers in U.S. patients between the ages of 30 to 39 years is up .7%."

Considering the long-term health risks that these chemicals pose, why are feminine products made with "forever chemicals? Well, according to HealthLine, Alyssa Wicks, a graduate student in Peaslee's lab, suggests that high concentrations of PFAS "might be used to keep moisture out of the wrappers so that the items inside remain dry." Similarly, she says that adding PFAS to the outer layer of period underwear would keep fluid from escaping the inner layers and prevent it from spreading onto a person's clothing.

However, no woman wants to be exposed to cancer-causing agents while having their period. But what are the alternatives? Cosmopolitan reported three certifiably PFAS-free period underwear brands: LunaPads, Sustain, and RubyLove. When their article was published in 2020, Cosmopolitan stated "Other period-underwear companies like Rael, Knix, and Intimate Portal did not respond to our emails in time (or at all) when we asked if their products included PFAS." The Grove Collaborative created a list of 19 menstruation products that are non-toxic and chemical-free; click here to view it. Check it out!

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