As per a Delhi-based environmental NGO study, popular sanitary napkins sold in India contain high levels of chemicals linked to heart disorders, diabetes, and cancer.
The findings were published in a report titled ‘Menstrual Waste 2022’.
Based on a study by the NGO Toxics Link,
10 samples of sanitary pads available on the market contained phthalates and volatile organic compounds.
The study said that disposable sanitary pads are the most popular menstrual products worldwide.
Risks of getting exposed to VCOs
Numerous health concerns are associated with phthalates, including endocrine
disruption, heart, and reproductive system effects, diabetes, some cancers, and congenital disabilities.
A person exposed to VOCs is more likely to suffer from brain impairments, asthma, disabilities, certain cancers, and reproductive issues.
“Organic” pads had the highest phthalates
It was found that self-proclaimed ‘organic’ sanitary napkins contained the highest phthalates. Both organic and inorganic sanitary napkins tested positive for phthalates in the study.
DIDP, a type of phthalate, had the highest concentration in a self-claimed organic pad at 19,460 micrograms/kg (g/kg).
Sanitary napkins samples were checked for a total of 25 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), out of which compounds such as acetone, chloroform, benzene, toluene, and others were detected in all the samples,
inorganic and organic.
According to the study, organic pads were found to have high VOC levels, breaking the notion that organic pads are safer.
Measures to take to resolve the issue
The study further stated that VOCs and phthalates present in menstrual products should be thoroughly investigated.
Secondly, the government and standards- making bodies should set standards for chemicals in sanitary products.
As a third measure, producers should be required to disclose the ingredients of their products.
Fourth measure mentions responsible advertising ensures that consumers receive relevant information about the product and adequate warnings.
Lastly, the study recommends regulations and schemes for substituting or reducing the use of these chemicals.
Menstruators need safe menstrual products to carry out their daily activities without being physically limited.