WVE, NGOs Partner to Highlight Need for Safer Products

Veeda among companies committed to Ingredient Disclosure & Product Safety

 SAN FRANCISCO - 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.

“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.” – Adrian Forsyth, Director and Co-Founder of Veeda

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.