A new study has revealed that sanitary napkins sold in India contain high amounts of chemicals linked to heart disorders, diabetes, and cancer.
Toxics Link, a Delhi-based environmental NGO, found the presence of phthalates and volatile organic compounds in a total of ten samples, six inorganic and four organic sanitary pads available in the market.
In its report ‘Menstrual Waste 2022’, the NGO said exposure to phthalates has been linked to a variety of health concerns including endocrine disruption, impacts to the heart and reproductive systems, diabetes, some cancers, and birth defects.
Exposure to VOCs increases the risk of brain impairment, asthma, disabilities, certain cancers, and the proper functioning of the reproductive system.
According to the study, all types of sanitary napkins, organic and inorganic, tested positive for the presence of phthalates.
Among phthalates, the maximum concentration was of DIDP, a type of phthalate, at 19,460 microgram/kg (µg/kg) in a self-claimed organic pad.
Concentrations of a combination of phthalates were found to be 0.0321 and 0.0224 grams in an organic and an inorganic sample, respectively, which is greater than 0.1% by the weight of the product mandated under EU regulations, said the study.
Sanitary napkins samples were checked for the presence of a total of 25 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) out of which compounds such as acetone, chloroform, Benzene, toluene, and others were detected in all the samples, inorganic and organic.