GRDAJ Nov27: New Delhi-based NGO, Toxics Link, recently released a study report which suggested that most of the popular brands of sanitary napkins sold in India contain harmful chemicals that can cause serious health problems, including infertility. The report, titled 'Wrapped in Secrecy', was released on November 21.
The researchers behind the study conducted tests on 10 different types of sanitary pads, including both organic and inorganic, which are widely available in the market. Particularly, they found the presence of two specific chemicals, namely phthalates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), in high amounts.
Phthalates, which are also used in the manufacturing of various plastic products, are used in sanitary pads to join the different layers and increase the product elasticity, while VOCs are used in sanitary napkins to add fragrance. VOCs are also found in paints, deodorants, air fresheners, nail polish, moth repellents, fuels and automotive products, said the authors of the report.
The researchers found presence of six types of phthalates in two of the most sold sanitary pads in India, and total 12 different phthalates across the range of products. Presence of VOCs were detected in all of the sanitary pads tested. As many as 14 types of VOCs were found in two most popularly used sanitary pads.
The report also pointed out numerous health hazards associated with exposure to phthalates, which include endometriosis, pregnancy-related complications, issues with fetal development, insulin resistance, hypertension, etc.
VOCs can cause a wide range of harmful effects such as brain functioning, skin inflammation, anaemia, liver and kidney dysfunction, tiredness, unconsciousness, the report stated.
Sadly, there is no rule that regulates the use of these chemicals in sanitary products in the country. Moreover, the manufacturers make no mention of the presence of these chemicals on their product labels.
The authors of the study stressed the urgent need to frame mandatory rules to limit the use of such harmful chemicals in making sanitary products in the country.