A proposed class action alleges Knix Wear menstrual underwear is unfit for its intended use because it contains unsafe synthetic chemicals known to be harmful to the human body and environment.
The 37-page lawsuit, filed on April 4 in California, says the Knix Wear period underwear contains per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which persist and accumulate over time and can be harmful even at very low levels. The case relays that PFAS are a category of chemicals sometimes used to enhance the performance of textiles and apparel, such as to make them water repellant and/or stain resistant. Per the suit, exposure to PFAS has been associated with “a host of health effects,” including cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility and an increased risk of asthma and thyroid disease.
The suit states that despite Knix Wear’s representations that its underwear is free from PFAS and other toxic chemicals and “designed to be both safe and effective,” independent research conducted by nonprofit Mamavation and an Environmental Protection Agency-certified lab determined that the products contain 373 parts per million (ppm) of fluorine, an indicator that the items contain PFAS.
For reference, the complaint says, the current EPA advisory limit for safe consumption of PFAS is just 70 nanograms per liter. Per the case, one ppm is equivalent to one million nanograms per liter.
“Accordingly, use of the Products would expose a consumer to PFAS at levels that are several orders of magnitude higher than one would receive from drinking a liter of water that contains PFAS at the level considered safe by the EPA,” the filing says.
In light of the foregoing, and increased public health concern about the chemicals found in feminine hygiene products, it is “particularly worrisome” that Knix Wear underwear contains PFAS given how and for how long the product is worn by women, the lawsuit says.
According to the complaint, PFAS are not necessary for Knix Wear to make the period underwear stain resistant and water repellant as a number of the company’s competitors’ products have been tested and found to contain no detectable level of fluoride.
“Accordingly, Defendant would have had knowledge that they could produce the Product without the heightened levels of PFAS inherent in its current composition,” the filing says. “Yet, Defendant chose not to, and instead concealed this information from consumers, to increase revenues by the cost savings associated with the use of these chemicals.”
Further, the suit notes that PFAS are known to migrate during laundering, meaning clothing items treated with the substances can transfer the chemicals to other clothing and into waterways.
The case looks to represent all persons in the United States who bought Knix Wear menstrual underwear.
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