If you use period underwear, you’re not alone. Made popular in 2015 by Thinx, leakproof panties are now wardrobe staples.
Period underwear, aka “period panties,” as they were called early on, absorb period blood and use a waterproof layer to prevent it from leaking onto your clothes.
Thinx didn’t invent the concept, but they definitely took it mainstream thanks to massive venture capitalist funding and their viral NYC subway marketing scheme.
Today though, the brand is becoming viral for a not-so-great reason. A Thinx lawsuit is making headlines for the potential use of PFAS in their products.
What are PFAS?
A group of chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl substances, PFAS for short, are considered “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down in the environment. They’re used in common household items such as nonstick cookware, food packaging, and even carpets.
Basically, PFAS are everywhere, and they aren’t going away anytime soon.
“A recent review from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines a host of health effects associated with PFAS exposure, including cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility, and increased risk of asthma and thyroid disease.” –Harvard School of Public Health
Do Thinx have PFAS?
After two separate cases of independent lab testing requested by Sierra Club and Mamavation found PFAS in Thinx underwear, a class action lawsuit was brought against the company. The Thinx lawsuit was recently settled.
“Thinx denies all of the allegations made in the lawsuit and denies that Thinx did anything improper or unlawful. With respect to PFAS, Thinx confirms that PFAS have never been a part of its product design, and that it will continue to take measures to help ensure that PFAS are not intentionally added to Thinx Period Underwear at any stage of production. The proposed settlement is not an admission of guilt or wrongdoing of any kind by Thinx.”
Textile treatments typically use PFAS chemical treatments. And Thinx has long promoted its moisture-wicking fabric treatment.
This isn’t the first time the brand Thinx has found itself in hot water. The founder, Miki Agrawal, was accused of sexual harassment and stepped down as “SHE-EO” in 2017.
Is any period underwear free of PFAS?
Knix, another popular leakproof brand, has a similar lawsuit concerning PFAS in progress. According to Mamavation’s testing in 2021, 65% of the period underwear brands they tested contained PFAS.
So, is period underwear safe? Many brands can confidently say they don’t intentionally make their products with materials containing PFAS, and their test results prove it. Brands tested as “better” or “best” by Mamavation include Period.Shop’s favorite brands of safe period underwear, Aisle and Saalt Wear.
Aisle has been the most transparent brand when it comes to PFAS. They publish their PFAS test results and have no detectable levels of PFAS (detectable limit = 1 part per million).
In a Twitter thread in response to the Thinx lawsuit and others, Aisle suggested that any brand claiming to be “PFAS-Free” is opening themselves up to potential lawsuits. This is because PFAS are likely to be found in trace amounts in all household items.
What to do if you own Thinx
Is it time to say goodbye to your Thinx?
PFAS are hard to avoid, but the higher levels found in Thinx should give you pause. Consider the skin they come into contact with. Plenty of brands have proven they can manufacture effective, absorbent, and safe period underwear without the addition of PFAS.
If you have ever purchased Thinx, read about the Thinx class action settlement to see if you’re entitled to any compensation.