Period pants are, quite frankly, liberating. Giving you the ability to free bleed - day or night - with no messy aftermath makes your period way more comfortable. And therefore, way more bearable. But new research undertaken by a scientist at the University of Notre Dame alleges to have discovered toxic chemicals on the inside of the crotch in an unused pair of Thinx period-proof pants. Uh ohhhhh.
It all started when journalist Jessian Choy, writing for Sierra magazine, decided to investigate her favoured period pants. After emailing Thinx to ask how they ensure their underwear is free from certain toxic chemicals - and failing to receive a response - Jessian went ahead and looked into it herself.
She reached out to nuclear scientist Dr Graham Peaslee of the University of Notre Dame, who she knew about he'd discovered the same toxic chemicals in fast-food wrappers a few years previous. The chemicals in question are called polyfluoroalkyl substances - or PFAS to anyone outside of a lab. They're known to be toxic to humans, even when present at very low levels, and have previously been linked to cancer and fertility issues.
Eager to get an answer, Jessian sent a pair of unused Thinx period pants to Dr Peaslee, requesting he assess them for PFAS chemicals. After some testing, he reported to have discovered them on the inside layers of the crotch; a pretty intimate area by anyone's standards.
Using a 'particle induced gamma ray emission spectroscopy test', the scientist allegedly discovered PFAS levels of 3,264 parts per million in Thinx’s core menstrual brief product. According to Dr Peaslee's reported results, its 'BTWN' line of underwear for teenagers, contained PFAS levels of 2,053 parts per million.
In response to Sierra's suggestion that PFAS substances were present in this particular set of underwear, Thinx has vehemently denied this could be the case. Speaking to Fast Company, CEO of the period-proof pants brand Maria Molland said: "Based on these third-party tests, PFAS chemicals were not detected in Thinx products. Our customers' health and safety is our number one priority, and we will always work to deliver the safest products available."
The company added that its products are subject to several rounds of testing to ensure they meet or exceed safety standards, and even included copies of the company's recent lab tests, dating back to September 2019. The results of said lab tests appear to corroborate the company's insistence that there was no detectable level of PFAS chemicals in the product batch following the manufacturing process.
The two sets of results appear to contradict one another, so perhaps it requires further independent testing to seek out a more conclusive answer. For now, maybe it's not quite definite enough to warrant you binning all your Thinx briefs - but it's something to be wary of, anyway.
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