Popular sanitary napkins may not be as safe for menstrual health as they are marketed to be. According to a new investigation, cancer-causing chemicals have been discovered in commonly available sanitary pads sold in India. This is a concerning finding, especially given that nearly three out of every four teenage women in India use sanitary napkins.
“It’s astonishing to see so many dangerous compounds in commonly accessible sanitary goods, including toxic substances including carcinogens, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors, and allergies,” said Dr. Amit, one of the researchers and a project coordinator at the environmental NGO Toxics Link.
Details about a new study reveals sanitary pads in India contains cancer and harmful chemicals causing infertility
The study, done by an NGO affiliated with the International Pollutants Elimination Network, evaluated ten brands of pads (both organic and inorganic) sold in India and discovered evidence of phthalates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in all samples. Both pollutants are capable of forming cancerous cells. Toxics Link discovered the presence of several phthalates that are prohibited by European legislation.
The fact that dangerous chemicals can be absorbed by the body through sanitary pads is even more worrying. “As a mucous membrane, the vagina can release and absorb chemicals at a greater rate than the skin,” said Dr. Aakanksha Mehrotra, a Toxics Link program coordinator who participated in this study.
There is a growing trend among Indian women to utilize sanitary pads instead of unsanitary methods of protection. The inclusion of dangerous compounds, including carcinogens, on the other hand, is a devastating blow to hard-earned trust.
“While there are regulations in the European region, the composition, manufacture, and use of sanitary pads in India are not governed by a specific regulation but are subject to BIS standards, which have nothing specific on chemicals,” said Priti Banthia Mahesh, Chief Programme Coordinator of Toxics Link.
According to the most recent National Family Health Survey, over 64% of women aged 15 to 24 use sanitary pads. Pad usage is also influenced by demographics and education. Pad usage is assumed to be higher in a more rich culture.
Meanwhile, the Indian sanitary pad industry is expected to reach USD 618.4 million by 2021. According to the IMARC Group, this market is estimated to reach USD 1.2 billion by 2027, with a CAGR of 11.3 percent between 2022 and 2027.