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India's Popular Sanitary Pads Have Toxic Chemicals, Needs Regulation: Study

There is no law that regulates the presence of chemicals in sanitary products.

Published
Fit
2 min read
India's Popular Sanitary Pads Have Toxic Chemicals, Needs Regulation: Study
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A study by the non-profit organisation, Toxics Link, revealed that the top 10 popular brands of sanitary napkins sold in India contain two harmful chemicals – phthalates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). However, the However, the phthalates are within the European Union standard of 0.1 percent.

Why this matters: Exposure to these harmful chemicals could lead to endocrine disruption, have effects on the heart and reproductive systems, and cause diabetes, some cancers, and congenital disabilities, the study titled 'Wrapped in Secrecy' points out.

In sanitary pads, VOCs are mainly added as fragrances, adsorbents, moisture barriers, adhesives, and binders, the study says. It also states that phthalates are generally added to the layers of sanitary pads to enhance the elasticity and gel properties.

But, you should read on because... In India, the Indian sanitary pad market was valued at around US$618.4 million in 2021, but there is no law that regulates the presence of chemicals in sanitary products.

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The big numbers:

  • The top two most-sold sanitary pads in India contained six types of phthalates.

  • A total of 12 different phthalates were found across the range of products.

  • A total of 24 different VOCs were found in both organic and inorganic samples.

  • Chemical exposure through pads can be more dangerous as the skin around this area is highly permeable.

"As a mucous membrane, the vagina can secrete and absorb fluids at a higher rate than the skin."
Dr Aakanksha Mehrotra, Programme Coordinator, Toxics Link, who was part of this study

What next: Toxics Link has called for standards and restrictions to limit the presence of chemical substances in sanitary products.

"People who use menstrual products available in the market deserve access to safe products and the right to know what ingredients they are exposed to. Producers must be mandated to provide relevant information and adequate warnings so that the risks can be assessed," said Priti Banthia Mahesh, Chief Programme Coordinator of Toxics Link.

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Topics:  Sanitary Pads   What We Know 

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