Unfortunately, our research shows that many of today’s feminine products contain a host of chemicals that may cause cancer, disrupt hormones, or cause unnecessary allergic reactions. Tampons are used by up to 70 percent of menstruating women in the U.S. Other products such as douches, sprays, washes, and wipes, are used by 20-50% of women, with use rates considerably higher among African-American, Latina and low-income women. The Food and Drug Administration does not require companies to test for all harmful chemicals, nor do they require companies to disclose the presence of all chemicals used in feminine care products.
Given the widespread use of these products, the particularly sensitive exposure route for women, and the lack of regulatory oversight, Women’s Voices for the Earth is working to eliminate toxic chemicals from the $3 billion U.S. feminine products market.
Over 65% of women in the United States report using some form of vaginal lubricant in the previous month. While they can be very effective at reducing discomfort at the time they are used, researchers are becoming increasingly concerned about the potential longer term health effects of exposure to these products.
Through claims of “freshness,” “confident clean” and yes, even “odor control,” wipes are being advertised as the better option for the health and happiness of women. But the truth is, wipes may be doing you (and the planet) more harm than good.
Colorants found in some feminine washes come in contact with vaginal mucous membranes –violating the FDA’s use restrictions, and may adversely affect the health of women using these products.
Whether you use vaginal douching products or not, this important first-of-its-kind study reaffirms the need for more research into this unique and sensitive route of exposure for women.