Down There Care

Um, Should I Throw Out My Thinx?!

By Gabi Powell Jillian LoPiano, MD

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Period Panties, we’ve got a problem. 😨
Thinx, a household name in the menstrual underwear space, has long sold itself to Betties as a non-toxic, safer + sustainable period alternative. That is, until last week when the company settled a class action lawsuit that claimed its products are, er, not so non-toxic, but in fact, contain harmful chemicals. Awkwarrrrrrd.

The news has been a big ol’ bummer for our team, too. We’ve raved about the range of comfy options and styles, that make your flow just a little less dreadful. *sigh* But Thinx’s legal sitch has many of us second-guessing all that we thought was good. Is it time to throw out our Thinx?

 

WHAT ARE PFAS?
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are human-made substances known as “forever chemicals” because they’re practically immortal. *yikes*🥸 These synthetic nasties have been used since the ‘30s and are most often found in nonstick products and those that resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water. (This water resistance is foundational to the Thinx lawsuit, which claims PFAS are how the underwear manages to absorb period blood and still feel dry. The company denies PFAS to ever have been part of its design.)

 

WHAT’S THE HARM?
PFAS are not instantaneously toxic but build up in our system. Exposure has been linked to a long list of health issues, but the impact of PFAS is still “uncertain,” according to the CDC. This is because many of the studies have been done on lab animals, leaving some questions about the long-term effects on humans.

For Thinx-wearing Betties, PFAS pose a possible concern because much like fragrances and douching – the vulva doesn’t like us interfering. And knowing what we *do* about PFAS, our vulvas would prefer we avoid them.

 

SO, DO I NEED TO TOSS MY THINX?
From the top, we must highlight Thinx’s lawsuit focused on its shady marketing tactics and not reported health issues. No studies investigated if PFAS found in Thinx’s underwear were absorbed in the body. So, do you need to toss your Thinx? Not necessarily, but you should be cautious.

There is an upside to Thinx’s bloody lawsuit. Betties are paying attention to what exactly is in menstrual products and holding brands accountable. Women’s health products have long been focused on selling to women instead of being of service to women. We’re hopeful brands will learn before lawsuits and design the products Betties’ bodies deserve.

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