Following concerted campaigns across the feminine products industry, including old-fashioned picketing outside shareholder meetings and organizing via social media, two consumer products titans are becoming more transparent about the chemicals in their products.
Proctor & Gamble and Kimberly Clark, which together control the biggest segment of the $3 billion industry for tampons, panty liners and feminine wipes in North America, are as of the last few weeks publishing the ingredients used in their feminine hygiene products online, the New York Times reports.
The companies have been under fire from activists concerned about chemicals in feminine hygiene products that may cause problems like toxic shock syndrome—a notable public health crisis in the 1970s and 1980s—but also chemicals that may be linked to cancer and allergies, according to the Times. Often additives to products are identified generically, as is often the case with “fragrances,” compounds that can be composed of dozens of chemicals, some of which may raise health concerns.
“The new disclosures from Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark are a step in the right direction, and show that the concerns expressed by millions of women are being heard,” Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D—NY), who has been vocal on the issue for decades, said in a statement to the paper. “But these disclosures are still very limited.”
In a statement to TIME, Kimberly Clark spokesperson Terry Balluck said the company has always prided itself on transparency and that customers have always been welcome to contact the Consumer Care department for ingredient information.
“For additional transparency and in response to recent consumer questions we have posted an ingredients page for U by Kotex products on the Product Stewardship section of our website,” Bullock said.
A spokesperson for Proctor & Gamble told TIME the disclosure was the latest step in an ongoing effort at transparency. “Our websites have always had information to address the most common questions we receive from women so they can use our products with confidence,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “Listening to our consumers is an ongoing process and we routinely update our resources, as we have done recently with Always and Tampax websites, based on input and feedback.”
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