Meng Introduces Legislation to Require Ingredient Labeling for Menstrual Hygiene Products
May 24, 2017
Congresswoman also hosts first-ever menstrual hygiene panel discussion on Capitol Hill about her legislation and other barriers to feminine care
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) hosted the first ever Capitol Hill panel discussion with menstrual hygiene policy experts to discuss her recently introduced legislation, the Menstrual Products Right to Know Act. The discussion occurred in advance of World Menstrual Hygiene Day, which is May 28.
Meng’s bill (H.R. 2416) aims to make menstrual hygiene products safer by ensuring that women know what they are putting in their bodies. The measure would require manufacturers of commonly used menstrual hygiene products, such as scented and unscented pads, cups, scented and unscented tampons, and therapeutic douche apparatuses, to label the ingredients in these items, and list them in descending order of concentration.
“It is astounding that manufacturers of tampons, pads, menstrual cups and other menstrual hygiene products are not required to disclose the ingredients of these products,” said Congresswoman Meng. “We can easily see the ingredients used in the shampoo we put in our hair—why doesn’t this apply to products that touch, or are inserted into, sensitive female anatomy? Consumers are being denied access to crucial information, which affects their safety and impacts their ability to make informed choices. My bill, the Menstrual Products Right to Know Act, would finally change that.”
A copy of Meng’s legislation can be found here.
The other panelists that took part in the discussion included Laura Strausfeld, co-founder of Period Equity; Alexandra Scranton, Director of Science and Research for Women’s Voices for the Earth; Ashley Orgain, Director of Mission Advocacy and Engagement for Seventh Generation; Sarah Craven, Director of the Washington Office for the United Nations Population Fund; and Holly Seibold, Executive Director for Bringing Resources to Aid Women’s Shelters (BRAWS).
They discussed menstrual hygiene product safety; barriers to menstrual hygiene product access for homeless, low-income, and incarcerated women; international efforts to provide dignity to menstruating women; as well as Meng’s other legislation to address these issues, the Menstrual Equity for All Act (H.R. 972).
"Congresswoman Grace Meng is forging a new path in woman's rights with her proposed menstrual equity bill and by convening the first-ever congressional panel discussion on this topic,” said Laura Strausfeld, co-founder of Period Equity. “As a law and policy institute devoted to advancing issues of access, affordability and safety of menstrual hygiene products, we at Period Equity are privileged to work side by side with her and her staff to make 2017 the year we see the first menstrual equity bill become law."
“Millions of women use these products on a monthly basis that come into contact with one of the most sensitive and absorptive parts of the body,” said Alexandra Scranton, Director of Science and Research at Women's Voices for the Earth. “We need ingredient disclosure of menstrual hygiene products; women need to know what their bodies are being exposed to. And we are grateful that Congresswoman Meng has introduced a common-sense bill that will finally help give women the information they need to make safe choices to protect their reproductive health."
“Seventh Generation has created a business founded in transparency, as one of the first home care companies to list our product ingredients right on the package, and is proud to join in this movement to fight for a woman’s right to know what is in the pads and tampons she uses,” said Ashley Orgain, Director of Mission Advocacy and Engagement at Seventh Generation. “We are teaming up to empower women to make informed decisions when it comes to the products we are putting in our bodies and strongly believe we have a right to avoid ingredients like fragrance – no matter how those ingredients are regulated.”
"During emergencies, women and girls don't stop getting their periods,” said Sarah Craven, Director of the Washington Office for the United Nations Population Fund. “If women can't maintain their dignity in a crisis, it can prevent them from seeking water, food and pursuing an education. UNFPA and partner organizations meet these health and hygiene needs by immediately deploying kits which include underwear and sanitary napkins. This small, low-cost intervention enables women to retain their dignity and access food, water and education even in a crisis. We applaud Congresswoman Meng for highlighting this critical though often overlooked issue today."
“Even though menstrual products are items that serve women’s basic needs, our clients do not have access to them, nor can they afford them,” said Holly Seibold, Executive Director for Bringing Resources to Aid Women’s Shelters. “Our clients are women suffering from poverty and homelessness, domestic violence survivors, single mothers providing for their families. They find themselves living in unstable home environments – where basic survival needs are priority –as well as transitional housing where they’re working towards thriving in a more independent environment. By providing pads and tampons to schools, we’re also enabling girls to receive an uninterrupted education and help remove this anxiety from their everyday lives. But the need is great and we can’t do it alone. We are honored to have participated in this panel discussion this morning with such inspiring women.”
See attached photo from the panel discussion.