COLOR is a sisterhood of Latinas dedicated to building a movement of Latinas, their families and allies through leadership development, organizing and advocacy to create opportunity and achieve reproductive justice. COLOR is an active member of our Detox the Box advisory committee; Amber was a featured speaker (an absolutely fantastic one at that!) at our May 23, 2017 Feminine Care Rally in Washington, DC.
Let’s be frank. It is ridiculous that we have to fight to make sure that poisons are not being included in the products we use for self-care or in our households. It is infuriating that while members of Congress work to strip away affordable access to healthcare by taking insurance coverage away from millions of people, there are companies that refuse to tell us what they put in their products or make sure that ingredients known to cause cancer are not marketed as something that will make us look or smell or be better. But here we are.
The sad fact is that women of color are often targeted by rhetoric that tells us we are not good enough. We see it in policies that try to control how we build our families and who gets to seek an abortion or have a child. We see it in the way people talk about our bodies and our sexuality. We see it in marketing where we are made into a joke or told that we need to buy a bunch of products so our hair is right and our skin is light and we smell better and look better.
We will not stand by as products are pushed on us that perpetuate this stigma and negatively impact our health. There are companies making lubricants that is supposed to help with a healthy, fun sex life, but they neglect to inform us that components can have acute effects like irritation or increased infection; while other companies are pushing use of feminine wipes by telling women that they need these products to feel fresh, clean and confident even though they contain many ingredients that put health and future fertility at risk.
Companies continue to market feminine products more aggressively to women of color, so we are disparately impacted by these harmful and unwanted chemicals. This is not new — from nail salons to hair straighteners to workplace hazards, women of color are disproportionately exposed to and harmed by toxic chemicals, but we are not having it!
We are pushing back on efforts to shame us for having sex or tell us that our vaginas are dirty. We will not be told to hate our bodies so companies can sell products that are actually hurting us! Women of color deserve better, as do all women, than to have dangerous products pushed on us that negatively impact our health, especially when too many of us continue to struggle to be able to afford quality care to prevent or treat issues stemming from these products.
We — and countless women everywhere — are calling on Congress to advance legislation to ensure transparency of ingredients and prevent companies from using chemicals that they know are dangerous. We reject toxic marketing messages and toxic chemicals and we demand safer products.
From cosmetics to cleaning products to workplace hazards, people of color should be able to live and work safely. For now, let’s do all we can to get poisonous products out of our chones — that seems like a good place to start.
Raise Your Voice
Join COLOR, WVE and women across the nation to take action for safer feminine care products.
- Support the Menstrual Products Right to Know Act, which requires ALL manufacturers of tampons and pads to disclose ingredients.
- Support the Robin Danielson Feminine Hygiene Product Safety Act, which directs the National Institute of Health to research the impact ingredients in feminine care products may be having on women’s health.