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Are Chemicals in Your Period Products Affecting Your Health?

Are Chemicals in Your Period Products Affecting Your Health?

In the US, chemicals can be used in personal care products until there is conclusive, and causal evidence that the ingredient poses real harm.

That means we often take a retroactive approach in solving health issues tied to consumable products, rather than a cautionary and proactive one. 

In this blog, we're going to dive deeper into all these chemicals found in our period products, their health risks, and possible solutions.

So, What's In Our Period Products?

Image from Made Safe 

1. Dioxins and Furans

Dioxins and furans are a class of hydrocarbons that can be found in trace amounts in period products.

These chemicals are highly persistent and bioaccumulate, and some are known to be carcinogenic.

While studies have suggested that exposure to dioxins from period products is negligible, it's important to note that the concentrations of dioxins can vary within different types of period products.

2. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

VOCs are chemicals that can evaporate easily and contain carbon atoms.

They are commonly used in fragrances, absorbents, adhesives, and moisture barriers in period products.

Image from WVE

Some VOCs, such as benzene, have been linked to reproductive effects and are considered human carcinogens.

Studies have detected VOCs in various period products, and while some have raised concerns about potential health risks, more research is needed to fully understand the impact of VOC exposure from period products.

3. Phthalates

Phthalates are synthetic chemicals used in a wide range of consumer products, including period products. They have been associated with endocrine-disrupting properties and reproductive outcomes.

Studies have detected phthalate concentrations in period products, with some reporting levels that exceed acceptable limits for carcinogenic risk.

Scented period products tend to have higher phthalate concentrations than unscented products.

4. PFAS (also known as forever chemicals)

PFAS are a group of chemicals that have been found in period products, including tampons, pads, and period underwear.

These chemicals are known as "forever chemicals" because they do not break down easily in the environment.

PFAS have been linked to a range of health issues, including decreased fertility, hormonal disruption, and increased risk of certain cancers.

Some studies have detected PFAS in period products, raising concerns about potential health risks.

Are We Absorbing These Chemicals?

One of the primary concerns surrounding period products is whether the chemicals they contain are absorbed into the body.

The vaginal area is highly vascularized, making it more susceptible to the absorption of chemicals. All the chemicals mentioned earlier can be absorbed through the skin and mucous membranes.

The extent of absorption depends on various factors such as the chemical's properties, the concentration in the product, the duration of exposure, and the individual's physiology.

How Do We Know What Exposure Levels Are Safe?

Determining safe levels of exposure to chemicals in period products is a complex process.

Regulatory agencies like the EPA set guidelines for acceptable levels of exposure based on available scientific evidence.

However, these guidelines are often based on limited data and may not account for the cumulative effects of exposure to multiple chemicals over time.

Why Can't Studies Tell Us for Certain If They're Safe or Not?

Studying the health effects of chemicals in period products is challenging due to ethical considerations and the complexity of human exposure.

Most studies rely on animal models or in vitro experiments, which may not accurately reflect human physiology.

Additionally, the long-term effects of exposure to low levels of chemicals are difficult to study and may take years or even decades to manifest.


To minimize your exposure to chemicals in period products, consider the following tips:

  • Choose organic or all-natural period products when possible, as they are less likely to contain harmful chemicals.
  • Opt for unscented period products, as scented products tend to have higher concentrations of VOCs and phthalates.
  • Consider using alternative period products, such as menstrual cups or reusable pads, which may contain fewer chemicals.
  • Advocate for better regulation of period products and increased transparency from manufacturers regarding the ingredients used in their products.


While more research is needed to fully understand the health risks associated with chemicals in period products, it's important to be aware of the potential risks and take steps to minimize your exposure.


After spending hundreds of hours on research, we’ve handpicked a range of all-natural menstrual products just for you.

These products are free from synthetic fibers, chemical residues, dyes, pesticides, chlorine bleach, and fragrances.

We’ve made sure they’re also not tested on animals and don’t have any toxic finishes.

Our goal was to find something safe for you and the planet, without compromising on your comfort.

Take a look at what we’ve found for you – we think you’ll like the difference they make.

Ecoternatives Organic Period Care Collection

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