Period underwear has seen rapid growth in these last few years, emerging as a popular choice among other sustainable period care products.
However, a recent study conducted by the renowned consumer advocacy organizations Which? and the Italian consumer association Altroconsumo has shed light on a concerning discovery—silver in period underwear.
While silver is often used for its antimicrobial properties, and it's typically added to period pants to combat user concerns about smell and hygiene. However, its potential toxicity raises questions about the safety of such products.
The US Food and Drug Administration found that nanosilver can kill lactobacillus, the healthy bacteria in the vagina that help fight off infection, potentially leading to an increased risk of bacterial infections and pregnancy complications.
Ingesting or absorbing excessive amounts of silver can lead to a condition called argyria, where the skin turns a bluish-gray color due to the deposition of silver particles. Furthermore, prolonged exposure to silver may result in other health issues, including neurological problems.
Period underwear is designed to be in close contact with the body for extended periods, creating a potential pathway for the absorption of silver. The recent study by Which? and Altroconsumo on silver in period underwear raises questions about the safety of such products, especially considering the sensitive nature of the areas they come into contact with.
Which? advocates for brands to explicitly disclose the inclusion of silver in their products, empowering consumers to make well-informed choices and understand potential risks associated with their purchases.
Collaborating with the Italian consumer organization, Altroconsumo, the consumer rights group independently examined popular brands to assess the presence of concerning chemicals. The results raised alarm as some products contained substantial levels of silver, with inadequate clarity on packaging.
Particularly noteworthy were Intima by Bodyform and pants by Marks & Spencer, containing 126.7mg/kg and 57.8mg/kg of silver, respectively. In contrast, alternative brands registered significantly lower levels at 8.3mg/kg, 7.4mg/kg, and 0.9mg/kg.
Essity, the parent company of Bodyform and Modibodi, justified silver copper zeolite usage to control odor for up to 12 hours, emphasizing certification under the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 for harmlessness to human health. Marks & Spencer clarified its use of a minimal amount of silver chloride away from the skin, approved by the UK and EU, combating odor safely.
Which? questioned the necessity of silver use, citing Altroconsumo's previous tests indicating that textiles treated this way lacked promised antimicrobial properties. The European Chemicals Agency underscores the environmental impact, deeming silver treatments toxic to aquatic life.
Which? tests, sensitive to silver concentrations above 0.1mg/kg, found none in Primark, Repeat, Wuka, Lovable, and Sloggi pants. Primark defended the use of Micro-Fresh, containing silver chloride, to minimize odors in period pants. Sloggi did not respond to Which?'s inquiries at the time of publication.
Remarkably, there are no legal limits in the UK concerning silver content in period pants, and manufacturers are not obliged to disclose silver presence on packaging or websites. This underscores the importance of informed consumer choices and transparent disclosures in the evolving landscape of menstrual product safety.
Ruby Cup is a healthy alternative to other brands that include harmful chemicals in their products. Ruby Cup's Flow Freedom period underwear is free from silver and any potentially harmful substances. Created with sustainable and organic materials, the line supports your menstrual needs while aligning with our Ruby Cup's commitment to environmental and user safety.
Ruby's period underwear is carefully crafted to provide comfort, absorbency, and reliability without compromising on health. Sustainability should not come at the expense of safety, and our products are a testament to that belief.
While some choices might seem smart in terms of pricing and convenience (close-by store), it's always worth asking the question 'what am I ACTUALLY paying for?'. Spending a few extra moments researching materials and other specifications will help you make an informed decision and find the best product for you.
Also, when in doubt reach out! Our lines are always open for you.