Ingredients should be listed on period product packaging #PeriodNonScents

Ingredients should be listed on period product packaging #PeriodNonScents

29 September 2021
Petition to
UK Government and all period product manufacturers
Signatures: 1,995Next Goal: 2,500
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Why this petition matters

Do you believe we have a right to know what is in our period products?

Lack of specific legislation and transparency about the hidden ingredients means we could be exposed to harmful chemicals and fragrances in our period products without our knowledge. Shoppers deserve to make informed choices about the products they are using, especially those with sensitive skin who need to avoid harsh irritants. Please sign the petition to demand legislation requiring transparency of ingredients on period products.

Have you ever checked what’s in your period products?

Unfortunately, the answer often won’t be on the label. Unlike toothpaste, ready meals and your favourite chocolate bar, period product manufacturers have virtually zero legal obligation to publish the full list of ingredients in the UK. Chemical and pesticide residues and ‘commercially sensitive’ fragrances all found in period products are virtually unregulated and lack of transparency from the period products manufacturers means we could be using products which can cause us harm. [1]

Wen and Natracare believe it is time for the UK Government to put an end to toxic secrets and legally require full ingredient transparency on packaging – including fragrances and ‘odour control’ substances.

So, what’s the big secret?

Tests have found a toxic cocktail of chemical residues in period products, many of which are linked to cancer, and developmental and reproductive disorders such as endometriosis. They can also disrupt hormones and trigger allergic reactions. [2],[3]

A recent YouGov study showed that 1 in 4 people (18-60 years old) who have used fragranced period products have experienced itching, irritation, and soreness - with 28% of them claiming it was a “severe” irritation. Worryingly, irritated skin can also increase the chance of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). [5]

Many gynaecologists advise against using fragranced period products and urge patients to move to reusables or organic single use disposables. [4],[5]

Big companies and period shame

For decades, period advertising has promoted shame-inducing messages, suggesting that our vaginas and periods are dirty. Women, girls, and people who menstruate are encouraged to believe that in order to feel 'clean' we need to use heavily fragranced period products. A healthy vagina is self-cleaning. Perfumes are not necessary. Let’s not allow period products manufacturers to decide what ‘clean’ smells like.

This toxic marketing can increase our exposure to harmful ingredients in fragrances. Ironically, if similar levels of fragrance were found in cosmetics that have been found in period products, they would require mandatory labelling. [6]

To make things worse, the sensitive skin of the vagina can rapidly absorb harmful chemicals and circulate them through the rest of the body. [7],[8] And research has shown that these types of chemical exposures differ for black women and marginalised ethnic communities due to the use of other products containing similar harmful chemicals such as douches. [9],[5]

Make no mistake, menstruation is big business with around 4.3 billion menstrual products used yearly in the UK constituting an industry worth about £243 million.

Time for Change

85% of women, girls, and people who menstruate want full ingredient transparency in their period products. [10] But how can we avoid harmful chemicals if they are not listed on the label?

Recent regulation in the United States has led to increased transparency but more needs to be done.[11]

It’s time for safer, sustainable, plastic free and affordable period products for all.

Take action and tell the UK Government to put our health first! #PeriodNonScents.

Tell period product manufacturers it's past time to list all ingredients on their products and stop the use of potentially harmful chemicals, if they care about our menstrual health. #PeriodNonScents


[1] Currently period products are regulated under the General Products Safety Regulations but not specifically mentioned in it.
[2] WVE What’s in Period Products: Timeline of Products Testing.
[3] Park, C.J.  Sanitary pads and diapers contain higher phthalate contents than those in common commercial plastic products. Reproductive Toxicology. Vol 84, March 2019, Pages 114-121.
[4] Interview with Dr. Leila Frodsham, spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Dr Leila Frodsham is a consultant gynaecologist with a special interest in psychosexual medicine.
[5] Nicole, W. A Question for Women's Health: Chemicals in Feminine Hygiene Products and Personal Lubricants. Environ Health Perspect. 2014 Mar; 122(3): A70–A75.
[6] Marcelis, Q. Development and application of a novel method to assess exposure levels of sensitizing and irritating substances leaching from menstrual hygiene products. Emerging Contaminants 7 (2021) 116e123.
[7] Gao, Chong-Jing et al. Feminine Hygiene Products a Neglected Source of Phthalate Exposure in Women. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2020, 54, 930−937.
[8] Gao, Chong-Jing. Phthalates, bisphenols, parabens, and triclocarban in feminine hygiene products from the United States and their implications for human exposure. Environment International 136 (2020) 105465.
[9] Dodson, R.E. Personal care product use among diverse women in California: Taking Stock Study. Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology (2021) 31:487–502.
[10] Results from a survey carried out by Natracare and Wen
[11] New York became the first US state to require every menstrual product on the market to disclose its ingredients on the packaging. The Menstrual Products Right to Know Act, which was championed by New York State Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal requires brands to print a conspicuous” list of ingredients on all menstrual product packages or boxes including tampons and pads. The law came into effect in January 2020.
The California governor Cristina Garcia also signed a bill (in September 2020) requiring brands to disclose their ingredients on menstrual products.


Support now
Signatures: 1,995Next Goal: 2,500
Support now