Feminine hygiene products sold in the state of New York will soon be required to have new warning and risk-related terminology printed on their labels as the result of a new law signed into effect in October. According to CBS News, products such as tampons will be required to be sold with labeling that contains "plain and conspicuous" lists of all ingredients used. Due to the fact they are classified as medical devices by the Food and Drug Administration, menstrual products have not been required to include ingredients on packaging labels, according to CBS.
While the law will officially take effect in late January 2020, organizations will be given an 18-month grace period to implement proper product labeling and listed ingredients, according to Vogue Magazine.
Inadequate Warnings Regarding Risks of Improper Usage
Following New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's signing of the legislation, his office released a statement that alleged menstrual products can contain potentially harmful ingredients that under federal law are not required to be disclosed to customers by the companies that sell them, per CBS.
"These menstrual products may contain toxic and allergenic chemicals that can cause significant health concerns," the statement read. "Requiring the disclosure of ingredients in menstrual products will allow women and girls to make more informed decisions about the products they use."
Among other potential risks associated with tampon use, prevalent issues that can arise from improper use or poor hygiene include urinary or vaginal tract injury or infection, as well as Toxic Shock Syndrome and reproductive health impairment, Cuomo's letter further stated.
Carcinogens, Among Other Toxins, Found in Menstrual Pads, Tampons
Some women's rights advocacy groups have argued that some tampons and menstrual pads have tested positive for several different carcinogens, including styrene, chloroethane and chloroform, according to Channel 3000.
According to Vogue, the average woman uses roughly 13,000 tampons in a lifetime. In 2015, New York University School of Medicine professor Philip Tierno told CNN that toxins found in menstrual products can be found in "trace" amounts per product, yet can build up over time in the body after they are absorbed into the bloodstream.
Advocates for changes to laws in the menstrual product market argue that the new law could signal a shift in "the whole landscape of period care" with regard to full product disclosure in labeling and the use of natural ingredients instead of synthetically-produced ones, Vogue reported.