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Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAs) in Everyday LifePer- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of synthetic chemicals that have garnered attention recently due to their prevalence in consumer products, including textiles. Their unique oil, dirt and water repellant properties make them incredibly useful in products like non-stick cookware, upholstery, and water-repellant textiles.
However, research has indicated that PFAS are harmful chemicals that can accumulate in the environment and our bodies over time. They have been detected in water sources, leading to potential contamination of drinking water.
Prolonged exposure to PFAS has been associated with adverse health effects, including reproductive issues, developmental problems in kids, and certain types of cancers. Exposure to PFAS is potentially linked to period irregularities, high blood pressure in pregnant people, and the risk of low birthweights in babies exposed while in utero.
Although studies are ongoing, the recent surge in discussions around the presence of PFAS in clothing is a reminder that the choices we make as consumers can have far-reaching impacts.
Are my period underwear made without added PFAS?If period underwear has become a part of your regular period routine, it's unfortunate to know that some of it has also been influenced by the incorporation of PFAS. And although it might help to ensure period underwear’s leak protection claims, it also raises concerns about their potential impact on our well-being.
In terms of PFAS and period underwear, the main things you want to keep an eye out for as a conscious consumer are brands that have been made “without added PFAS”. Being a conscious period underwear consumer means finding period underwear brands that aren’t using PFAS in their manufacturing processes and are also taking necessary precautions to limit our exposure to these toxic chemicals overall.
Unfortunately, PFAS don’t necessarily have to be added to period underwear to still be detected in low levels. This is due to their presence in our environment or other areas of manufacturing facilities because of PFAS used in other products.
PFAS Free Period UnderwearYou won’t find brands saying “PFAS free period underwear”. This claim is nearly impossible given their presence in our environment. But look instead for statements about using fabrics that aren’t treated with PFAS and information regarding independent testing done by reputable organizations. Third party testing helps ensure that our period underwear has been thoroughly tested for the presence of these harmful substances and is approved safe for daily wear.
Regulations and Industry Responses
In response to mounting concerns, regulatory bodies in various countries have taken steps to address PFAS use in consumer products. Some jurisdictions have banned or restricted the use of specific PFAS compounds in certain applications.
Additionally, some manufacturers have started to seek alternative solutions to PFAS-treated textiles, focusing on sustainable and eco-friendly fabric treatments that achieve similar functional benefits without the potential risks.
Making Informed Choices; Menstrual Products Including Period UnderwearAs consumers, we have the power to influence the market and drive positive change. Making informed choices about the products we purchase, including period underwear, can contribute to reducing the demand for PFAS-treated textiles. Opting for underwear made safe for everyday wear, seeking out brands that prioritize sustainability and human safety for your period protection can be steps toward minimizing exposure to these chemicals and striving for more safer, sustainable, and healthier options.
Choosing period underwear made without added PFAS means making purchases that align with our values and well-being. As we move forward, let's advocate for transparency, responsible manufacturing practices, and a future where fashion not only looks good but also feels good, both inside and out.
DIVA’s Reusable Period UnderwearIf you’ve been looking for extra protection with our menstrual cups or discs or just to wear on its own as all-day protection, DIVA now offers Period Underwear!
At DIVA, we strive to ensure our products are made safe for both your body and the environment. With that in mind, DIVA’s period underwear is created using fabrics that have no added PFAS and has been third party tested and verified by Intertek to ensure maximum consumer and product safety. We worked with a manufacturer that is expert in creating undergarments and is OEKO TEX 100 Certified. OEKO TEX is one of the world's best-known certification processes for textiles tested for harmful substances.
Manufactured in an OEKO-TEX 100 Certified facility means that the use of AZO dyes, formaldehyde, and nickel has been prohibited. In addition to these, many other chemicals harmful to health are also tested for during the manufacturing process. The OEKO-TEX lab tests to prevent harmful chemicals from interacting with our products include approximately 100 different extensive test parameters.
Each pair collects up to 9 regular tampons worth of flow, is made from sleek and comfortable recycled materials, and thanks to its 4-way stretch material, will conform to your body as you move for a continuously secure fit. It’s washable and reusable and comes in inclusive sizing.
Learn more about all of its unique features here; Introducing DIVA Period Underwear.
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. “PFAS Chemicals Overview | ATSDR.” Www.atsdr.cdc.gov, 24 June 2020, www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/health-effects/overview.html.
- Amenabar, Teddy. ““Forever Chemicals” Found in Period Underwear, Tampon Wrappers.” Washington Post, 11 Aug. 2023, www.washingtonpost.com/wellness/2023/08/10/forever-chemicals-pfas-period-underwear-tampons/.
- Avenue, 677 Huntington, et al. “Questions Raised about PFAS in Period Products.” News, 27 Jan. 2023, www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/questions-raised-about-pfas-in-period-products/.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances (PFAS) Factsheet | National Biomonitoring Program | CDC.” Www.cdc.gov, CDC, 24 May 2019, www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/PFAS_FactSheet.html.
- National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. “Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS).” National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, 9 Mar. 2023, www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/pfc/index.cfm.