New York, NY Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan) today announced that her first-in-the-nation legislation to require ingredient labeling on menstrual product packaging, including tampons, pads and sanitary napkins, was signed into law. Studies have found the presence the presence volatile organic compounds and other potentially dangerous chemicals, in addition to rayon and fragrance, in tampons, pads and other menstrual products. This new law will empower millions of consumers to make informed decisions about which products they choose to leave inside or on their bodies.
Menstruators have a right to know the ingredients in products that they put in and on some of the most sensitive parts of their bodies 24 hours a day, seven a week, every month for as many as 40 years, said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan). For years, menstruators have been stigmatized, their periods shrouded in shame. This law helps to smash the stigma surrounding menstruation and helps empower menstruators to make educated decisions about the products they use on their most sensitive body parts.
Menstruators use tampons and related products for up to a week each month for 40 years or more during the span of a lifetime. This prolonged exposure creates unique and not well understood or studied opportunities for absorption of chemicals and toxins into the individuals body. Reports on the ingredients found in many different brands have shown the presence of several undisclosed volatile compounds, including known reproductive toxins, like carbon disulfide and methylene chloride. Further, the percentage of organic to synthetic materials in menstrual hygiene products often fluctuates with changes in the price of cotton, and yet consumers are not informed of these changes in product composition.
Make no mistake about it, product labeling is a vital consumer protection, but a package with ingredients clearly labeled is also a signal to menstruators that their bodies and their experience matters, said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. This first-in-the-nation disclosure law firmly establishes New York as a national leader on menstrual equity. Menstrual product ingredient disclosure is a vital consumer empowerment tool, and will hold menstrual product manufacturers to the highest level of accountability. It is my hope that more states follow suit.
The law, which was sponsored by Senator Persaud and will take effect in 180 days, gives manufacturers 18 months to come into compliance. It will require every package of menstrual products to display a list of all intentionally added ingredients on the outside of the package so consumers can inspect the list at the point of sale. Failure to comply will subject manufacturers to a civil penalty in the amount of one percent of their total annual in-state sales not exceeding more than $1,000 per box or package.