Most day-to-day products such as frozen dinners, processed milk, and candy bars are required to display a list of ingredients used to manufacture or process them. However, this is not the same case with menstrual pads and tampons. Rather, most tampon makers provide an optional ingredient list claiming that their products “are likely” to have polyester, cotton, or rayon, or a combination of all. On the other hand, a good number of sanitary pads manufacturers list no ingredients on their packages. However, firms may provide such info on their websites highlighting that the pads are made of polyolefin and an absorbent wood cellulose.
Currently, a group of health activists that is dedicated to “menstrual equity” has emerged. The group is calling for an imposition of new rules that will force firms to disclose all materials and chemicals that are used in the manufacture of feminine care products. Laura Strausfeld, a co-founder of a law and policy program on menstrual equity issues known as Period Equity, termed the new rules as “the additional tampon tax.” The above was when she was referring to the lack of transparency, which prevents women from gaining information about an intimate product that can potentially have health consequences.
Some years ago, the menstruation subject was rarely discussed; girls referred to their periods using code language, and tampons were kept out of sight. However, in the recent past, activists are trying to make monthly period a normal subject. They have pushed for tax-free sanitary products, and are calling for feminine products to be distributed for free to homeless shelters and schools.
Representative Carolyn Maloney has tabled a bill that requires the National Health Institute to conduct research and determine if the chemicals used in the production of feminine products are a health threat. The bill, which Ms. Maloney has introduced for the tenth time, has never gone past the committee due to divisive political climate and complicated legislative agenda.
The proponents are, however, convinced that the rallies and proposed legislation will help leverage public support. This will in turn pressure tampon and pad manufacturers to disclose all the ingredients; consequently ensuring that the products pose no threat to a woman’s life.