Natracare, Seventh Generation Among Companies Committed to Ingredient Disclosure & Product Safety
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 26, 2014
DENVER—Chemicals linked to cancer, hormone disruption, and reproductive harm are found in some feminine care products used in one of the most absorptive parts of a woman’s body. That’s why Women’s Voices for the Earth, a national environmental health group, has announced a new campaign, “No Secrets,” with nine founding feminine care companies committed to full disclosure of ingredients in their products and eliminating those that may cause harm to women’s health.
The goal of the latest “No Secrets” campaign is to pressure the $3 billion industry to improve standards for transparency and safety, according to Erin Switalski, Executive Director of Women’s Voices for the Earth.
“By highlighting companies who are disclosing all ingredients and committed to making products free from toxic chemicals, we’re showing the industry as a whole that safer, transparent products can be made without hurting the bottom line,” explained Switalski. “We also want to point women toward safer alternatives for products that come into regular contact with extra sensitive and absorbent tissues.”
According to WVE’s landmark “Chem Fatale” report released last fall, tampons are used by up to 85 percent of menstruating women and may contain dioxins or pesticide residues linked to cancer, hormone disruptors, allergens and irritants from fragrance. Feminine wipes, feminine washes and feminine deodorant products can contain toxic preservatives like parabens, which may be hormone disruptors, or quaternium-15 and DMDM hydantoin, which release cancer-causing formaldehyde. Most feminine care products are fragranced and commonly contain known fragrance allergens—including anti-itch products. These chemicals sometimes exacerbate the very symptoms a woman is intending to self-treat with these products.
Currently, the FDA classifies tampons and pads as medical devices, a legal loophole that lets companies avoid ingredients disclosure. Douche, wipes, wash and sprays are regulated as cosmetics and must label their ingredients, but the umbrella ingredient “fragrance” is exempt.
The issue of undisclosed toxic chemicals in feminine care products is especially concerning because vulvar and vaginal tissues are some the most sensitive and absorptive tissues on women’s bodies, Switalski says, noting that chemicals absorbed through the vagina are easily and effectively distributed throughout the body, without being metabolized first. For example, when estrogenic drugs are administered vaginally, the resulting systemic levels of the drug in the body can be 10-80 times higher than when the very same dose is given orally.
To date, No Secrets participants who believe that women have a right to know what they’re using in and on their bodies include Natracare, Seventh Generation, Lunette, My True Moon, healthy hoohoo, LunaPads, Maxim HY, Orchidea Organic, and Veeda.
“Natracare has been the leader in full ingredient disclosure on packaging,” said Theresa White, Senior Executive Office at Natracare. “For us, it’s a mark of integrity, honesty and transparency—allowing women to really know what it is they are putting into and onto their bodies.”
Founded in 1995, Women’s Voices for the Earth amplifies women’s voices to eliminate the toxic chemicals that harm our health and communities. With thousands of members across the United States, WVE changes corporate practices, holds government accountable, and works to ensure a toxic-free future for all. Learn more at www.womensvoices.org
Quotes from No Secrets Members
Theresa White, Senior Executive Office, Natracare: “Conventional brands were unaffected by what women thought about the exposé of the damaging effects of their products on our health and environment, despite being challenged repeatedly by our founder, Susie Hewson, about the dioxin pollution they created, the lack of clarity about the ingredients used and the increasing incidence of toxic shock syndrome associated with their synthetic rayon tampons. Susie learned quickly that being angry was not going to bring about any changes so she decided to develop Natracare to take a stand against greenwashing. Our products are totally chlorine-free organic and natural, and the company is committed to educating women about the issues of toxins and environmental damage. In 25 years since our founding, Natracare has been the leader in full ingredient disclosure on packaging and sees this as a mark of integrity, honesty and transparency, allowing women to really know what it is they are putting into and onto their bodies with Natracare.”
Ashley Orgain Manager of Mission Advocacy and Outreach, Seventh Generation: “The goal of the No Secrets campaign directly aligns with our companies mission. We believe consumers have a right to know what’s in the products they buy, but more that that, we want to ignite a revolution that safeguards women and children’s health by ridding toxins from their lives.”
Shelli Wright, Founder, My True Moon: “Every girl and woman should have products that are healthy for her body and knowledge that’s healthy for her soul.
Rebecca Alvandi, Vice President, Maxim HY: “As a family run and woman-led company, we can’t help but be transparent about our product ingredients and commitment to our mission of providing a natural feminine hygiene solution for the growing population of health conscious women and those with sensitive skin.
Madeleine Shaw, Co-Founder, Lunapads: “Lunapads has been a pioneer champion of healthier and more sustainable menstrual products since 1993. We are proud supporters of the No Secrets campaign and invite anyone with an interest in justice, transparency and positive products and attitudes for menstruation to join us.”
Caron Rohman, Lune North America: “The uncomfortable reality is that you can’t detect risks in menstrual products — and you use them for 25% of your life. What goes in you or on you becomes a part of you and if it’s toxic, you are putting your health at risk. Team Lunette, is upfront with our ingredients — the highest quality medical grade silicone: free of phthalates, biphenyl A heavy metals, latex and BPA. With Lunette — the most trusted name in menstrual cups— you know what you’re getting. Knowledge brings peace of mind to our customers and retailers.”
Stacy Lyon, creator and owner, healthy hoohoo: “I created healthy hoohoo products for my college roommate, closest gal pals, mother, sister and myself. No way was I going to expose our most precious parts to toxic chemicals! From the beginning, I wanted to create a line of products that were simple, pure and effective. When it comes to feminine cleansing, “less is more,” so hoohoo’s formula liberates the body to do what it needs to do. The vagina, after all, is a self-cleaning oven.”
Adrian Forsyth, Director & Co-Founder of Veeda: “We founded Veeda on the principal that every woman should be able to choose, and afford, the purest, safest, most effective products for her body. We believe that disclosing all ingredients is a critical part of empowering women to make fully informed choices. Our goal is for all women—our mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends—to be confident that they are not compromising on their health for product performance or price. With Veeda, they get an affordable natural product that works.”
Jeannie Gallucci, Founder & CEO, Orchidea: “Orchidea believes every woman has the right to know what she is putting into her body. We put women and the planet first by offering a tampon that is 100 percent pure, organic cotton. We proudly list our ingredients because we don’t use chlorine bleach, rayon or plastic.”