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The French consumer rights group 60 Million Consumers has released a report warning women that a number of feminine care products such as tampons, sanitary napkins and panty liners may contain trace amounts of potentially toxic substances such as pesticides, dioxins and glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto‘s Roundup weedkiller that has been linked to cancer.
Popular brands such as O.B., Tampax, Always and the European brand Nett were faulted in the report. A “surprising” discovery, as the report noted, was the detection of pesticides and insecticides in Always sanitary napkins even though they are made of viscose and cellulose, not cotton.
Small amounts of glyphosate were also found in panty liners sold by the brand Organyc, which touts only using organic cotton.
— 60 millions (@60millions) February 23, 2016
Although the traces of chemicals were small, this does not completely reassure the consumer group, which is demanding these brands shed light on the composition and manufacturing process of their products.
“It’s not because the rates are low we can guarantee zero risk,” said tester Dr. Jean-Marc Bohbot, a infectious diseases specialist and medical director at the Fournier Institute in Paris, in a statement (via Google translate). “In the absence of studies on the systemic absorption of each substance from the vagina, we can not conclude anything.”
Glyphosate is the most popular weedkiller in the world. Last year, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) infamously classified glyphosate as a possible carcinogen, although Roundup maker Monsanto and other regulatory agencies have maintained its safety.
Still, many other scientific organizations and environmental groups such as Greenpeace have sought more research and regulation on this controversial chemical. Earlier this month, Ségolène Royal, France’s minister of ecology, sustainable development and energy, called for a ban on glyphosate mixed with certain additives (or basically Roundup) due to its perceived risks to human health.
— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch) February 16, 2016
Following the release of the 60 Million Consumers report, Organyc’s Italian manufacturer Corman conducted its own tests and “confirmed residual traces of glyphosate” in its panty liners and recalled 3,100 boxes of them from shelves in France and Canada, according to The Guardian.
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