Everyone is talking about 'toxic' period underwear. Here's what you need to know.

Period undies have been a big ol' game-changer for anyone with a menstrual cycle. They make having a period easier. More convenient. Comfier. Leak-proof. And dare we say it... better?

And all the brands - goodness. They've noticed just how much we like them. And now there's a whole heap of different options to choose from with varying styles, colours, absorbencies - you name it. 

Watch: Btw, we think you should know that this would be your period if she was a person. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

But if you're a person who's partial to period undies, chances are you've been hearing lots of noise from the US around... dangerous chemicals. Found in period undies.

And chemicals are not really something we want in our knickers.

So what exactly does this all mean? Are they really okay to wear? Should we stop wearing them? SHOULD WE STOP?

Let's take a step back and break it all down. 

Here's absolutely everything you need to know.


Wait. What happened in the US?

Quite the important question.

Basically, a US manufacturer called Thinx recently put out a statement to announce that it has formally settled a class-action lawsuit over the discovery of toxic chemicals in its period underwear.


In the statement, they said the settlement was “regarding the presence of short chain per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (‘PFAS’)” in its underwear. 

In case you're not a scientist, PFAS is a substance that contains over 4000 chemicals. These chemicals do not fully break down naturally in the environment and are often referred to as 'forever chemicals'.

While they've been found to be toxic to a range of animals, research into the human health effects of long-term PFAS exposure is still ongoing - however, many countries have discontinued, or are progressively phasing out, their use.

We still following? Cool.

Now, the lawsuit. 

Thinx said that the recent legal settlement was “not an admission of guilt or wrongdoing”, and that PFAS had “never been a part of its product design, and that it will continue to take measures to help ensure that PFAS are not intentionally added to Thinx Period Underwear at any stage of production.” 

However, an independent investigation back in 2020 (where this whole lawsuit started) found the presence of PFAS in Thinx menstrual products. 


Even though it markets its products as “organic, sustainable and non-toxic”, it was found that Thinx period undies contain high levels of PFAS, especially on the inside layers of the crotch. 

So, what kind of health impacts are we talking about?

As mentioned, many countries around the world have placed bans on the use of PFAS and associated chemicals such as - don't worry, we won't go into the long, complicated names - PFOA (also known as C8), PFOS and PFHxS.

Studies have found that PFOA may be associated with health conditions including testicular and kidney cancer, thyroid disease and pregnancy-induced hypertension.

Which all sounds not... great. Hence, everyone freaking out.

However, it's important to note here that PFAS is a common ingredient that can be found in lots of different products. For example, it's used in everything from food packaging to cosmetics, carpet cleaner and cookware. 

Meaning? We've probably all been exposed to it at one point or another.

What's unclear, though, is the potential impact of long-term exposure to these chemicals.

Are period undies safe?

So, bottom line: are period undies actually toxic?

Mamamia reached out to several period underwear brands in Australia to find out more about the presence of PFAS in menstrual products.  


Kelly McBride, Bonds General Marketing Manager, said, "At Bonds, the comfort, quality and of course safety of our products are our top priorities."

"Bonds has an extensive Restricted Substances List. In developing our Bonds Bloody Comfy Period Undies, PFAS chemistry was deliberately avoided."

In a statement, Modibodi said its products do not have PFAs, and the company has a zero PFA policy. 


"Our leak-proof lining is achieved through a combination of breathable, moisture-wicking and absorbent fabrics and specific sewing techniques. While there are some variations in fabrics across styles, our lining layers include 100 per cent Merino wool for its breathability and natural odour control, polyester/polyamide for absorbency and a thin polyester TPU layer for its lightness and leak-proof durability."

"We follow a strict supplier due diligence process and regular health and safety compliance checks including spot tests for PFAs... Our fabrics and products are also tested to Oeko-tex Standard 100, which tests for per- and polyfluorinated alkyl compounds (PFAS) according to the OTS100 standard for PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and salts as well as PFOA-related substances."


If you just scrolled to the end to get the verdict, here it is: Aussie underwear brands say they avoid using PFAS chemicals in their period underwear. So you don't have to ditch your fave pair of period undies anytime soon.

Are you a fan of period underwear? What do you think of the recent US lawsuit? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: Instagram; @bonds/Getty.

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