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businessinsider - 5 days ago

Thinx is denying claims that its menstrual underwear contains toxic chemicals in the crotch

A writer for Sierra Magazine sent Thinx underwear to nuclear scientist Graham Peaslee, who reportedly said his tests detected the presence of toxic chemicals. Thinx CEO Maria Molland denied the claim and provided different test results to support her stance. PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that can be found in drinking water, food, cosmetics, and packaging. They can build up in the body over time and have been associated with negative health outcomes from cancer to low infant birth weights. Regardless of whether or not Thinx contains PFAS, the chemicals are most dangerous when consumed, not worn. The controversy underscores that menstrual products advertised as organic aren t necessarily safer, and experts say they re usually unnecessary. Visit Insider s homepage for more stories. In January, a reporter named Jessica Choy mailed unused Lunapads and Thinx menstrual underwear to nuclear scientist Graham Peaslee of the University of Notre Dame. She wanted to know what was in the underwear since the manufacturers did not respond to her queries asking just that. Both Lunapads and Thinx are organic period underwear companies designed to offer women an alternative to conventional pads and tampons. Peaslee told Choy her Thinx underwear, specifically the crotch area, had high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, according to an article she wrote for Sierra Magazine. The levels were so high, she wrote, they suggest they were intentionally manufactured with PFAS. The Lunapads underwear reportedly did not contain the chemicals. Thinx contested Choy s article, and CEO Maria Molland sent a copy of its most recent lab tests, conducted by a third party, to Insider. No evidence of PFAS was shown in those tests. Our product safety testing is conducted by third party facilities to ensure our products meet the robust European safety standards of REACH and OEKO-TEX, Molland s statement send. Based on this outside expert testing, PFAS chemicals were not detected in Thinx products. The controversy raises questions about the potential effects of PFAS in clothing, and whether organic menstrual products really are safer than traditional options. High levels of PFAS are associated with negative health effects PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that stick around in the environment and in the human body so much so that they re known as forever chemicals. They can be found in food, household products like cleaning products, polishes, and paints, as well as in the environment and even living organisms. High levels of PFAS have been associated with low infant birth weights, adverse effects on the immune system, cancer, and thyroid hormone disruption. PFAS have also caused reproductive and developmental, liver and kidney, and immunological effects when tested in lab animals. PFAS in clothing shouldn t necessarily be a cause for concern Gynecologist Dr. Jen Gunter, author of The Vagina Bible who s been outspoken on social media against wellness claims that lack an evidence base, told Insider it s unclear how Choy s reported levels of PFAS compare to other clothing that uses similar fabric. The CDC says showering and bathing in water containing PFAS should not increase exposure, so I am having a hard time thinking wearing underwear against your dry skin is problematic, Gunter wrote in an email to Insider. Regardless, no one has shown PFAS in clothing is an issue to my knowledge. So why are they just testing period underwear? People don t eat their meals off it. Plus, other experts have said much panic about PFAS is unnecessary. There appears to be even less risk from PFAS than we thought, molecular pharmacologist Ian Musgraves wrote in The Conversation. And, an Australian expert health panel concluded that there is no current evidence that suggests an increase in overall cancer risk with PFAS. Organic menstrual products and underwear may not be safer Many people turn to products like Thinx and Lunapads because they are marketed as organic alternatives to ordinary tampons, which wellness companies like Goop have claimed are loaded with toxins. But organic doesn t necessarily mean toxin-free, and the word often doesn t really mean anything at all. Standards for achieving organic certification can vary widely, which makes some certifications more reliable than others. In fact, women s health experts say there aren t a whole lot of reasons to buy organic feminine products like tampons and menstrual underwear over the non-organic ones. For the majority of people [conventional tampons] are fine, and have been used for years and years without issue, gynecologist Dr. Alyssa Dweck, author of The Complete A to Z for your V, previously told Insider. Read more: Dangerous forever chemicals have been found in US drinking water at alarmingly high rates here s what to know about PFAS Organic tampons aren t worth your money here s why Forever chemicals linked to cancer and developmental issues lurk in the blood of almost every American. Here s how to avoid them.Join the conversation about this story NOW WATCH: Most maps of Louisiana aren t entirely right. Here s what the state really looks like.


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