Manufacturers of periodic protection (tampons, towels, cups, etc.) must detail their composition

Manufacturers of periodic protection (tampons, towels, cups, etc.) must detail their composition

Nearly 2.8 billion feminine intimate protection products are sold each year in Europe. Manufacturers will have to detail their composition on the packaging or the instructions for use from April 1. This development, which has been expected for several years, will be accompanied by better prevention of menstrual toxic shock syndrome.

From April 1, 2024, manufacturers and those responsible for placing on the market“tampons, towels, menstrual cups or panties must”mention on the labeling and/or instructions for use of the products concerned“several types of information,” detailed the Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control in a press release.

Clearer labels from April 1, 2024

This information is:

  • “the list of components (In the case of textile articles such as period pants, this list must comply with harmonized European legislation imposing the rules for displaying the composition of textile products.) and, for each of them, the details of the substances and materials incorporated;
  • the mention of the terms and precautions of use;
  • possible adverse effects (irritation, intolerance, allergies, microtrauma) or more serious ones such as menstrual toxic shock syndrome.

The decree which comes into force on April 1 was published at the end of December in the Official Journal. He plans “an authorized period for selling off stocks already placed on the market until December 31“, specifies the DGCCRF.

Preventing the risks of toxic shock syndrome

Fraud Repression indicates that a woman “uses between 6,000 and 13,000 disposable intimate protection products during his lifetime” and “information on the composition and good practices for use“are essential for”preventing the risk of toxic shock syndrome“.

This syndrome, the occurrence of which is estimated by Inserm at around a hundred cases per year, is “mainly caused by the use of internal periodic protection, namely tampons and menstrual cups“, further details the DGCCRF.

Menstrual CTS is an acute, infectious disease caused by the release into the blood of a bacterial toxin, TSST-1, produced by a particular strain of staphylococcus. It can cause a high fever, flu-like symptoms, a rash and, “in rare cases”, serious complications.”which can lead to amputation or even death“, according to the website of the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES).

A development which follows a petition dating from 2015

A parliamentary report and an opinion from ANSES recommended in February 2020 the obligation to mention the possible presence of traces of toxic substances on packaging. Challenged in 2015 by a petition signed by more than 300,000 people, the Procter & Gamble brand, which markets Tampax, chose to indicate the composition of its tampons.

As a follow-up to the survey carried out in 2021 on new intimate protection products, the DGCCRF declares that it “will maintain its vigilance regarding the safety and fairness of products distributed on the French market through, in particular, regular checks on their content of undesirable substances and the conformity of packaging“.

To find out more, read our article “Menstrual toxic shock: here’s how to avoid it”.