Lawsuit Investigation: Is Your Menstrual Underwear Toxic?
Last Updated on November 30, 2022
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are no longer investigating this matter. The information here is for reference only. A list of open investigations and lawsuits can be viewed here.
- November 30, 2022 – Thinx Settlement to Provide Cash, Vouchers to Buyers
- Those who purchased certain types of Thinx period underwear may be closer to getting some money back, as the company has agreed to pay at least $4 million and up to $5 million to resolve the claims detailed below.
For more details about the settlement and how to file a claim, head over to our blog.
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- September 30, 2022 – Investigation Closed, Settlement Reportedly in the Works
- Court documents indicate that a settlement is in the works to resolve allegations that consumers were led to believe Thinx underwear is nontoxic and safe when, in reality, it contains harmful chemicals.
According to a letter entered with the court earlier this month, the proposed settlement will provide monetary relief to consumers, and a motion for preliminary approval of the deal is expected to be filed by October 31. More information about the settlement should become available then.
In light of this development, attorneys working with ClassAction.org have decided to close their investigation into this matter, meaning they no longer need to hear from those who purchased the menstrual underwear mentioned on this page.
Check back to this page for updates or sign up for our free newsletter for the latest in class action settlement and lawsuit news. The information below was posted when this investigation began and remains for reference only.
Our open list of investigations can be found here.
At A Glance
- This Alert Affects:
- Anyone who purchased Thinx, Ruby Love or Knix menstrual underwear.
- What’s Going On?
- Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are investigating whether class action lawsuits can be filed following reports that certain menstrual underwear contains toxic chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
- How Can a Lawsuit Help?
- A class action lawsuit, if filed and successful, could help consumers get their money back and potentially force companies that sell menstrual underwear to change the way they manufacture and advertise their products.
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are investigating whether class action lawsuits can be filed on behalf of people who purchased Thinx, Ruby Love and Knix menstrual underwear.
Reports have surfaced that some versions of the underwear contain toxic chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which have been linked to cancer, fertility issues and other health problems.
The more people the attorneys can speak with, the better chance they have at getting a class action lawsuit on file.
Period Underwear and PFAS: What’s the Link?
PFAS can be used in clothing, including menstrual underwear, for their ability to resist stains and repel water.
While it’s impossible to directly test for the vast majority of the 9,000 PFAS in existence, the composting industry developed a way to instead test for fluorine, a chemical that, at certain levels, can indicate the presence of PFAS in an item or product.
Thinx came under scrutiny in January 2020 when Sierra Club magazine reporter Jessian Choy wrote that she had sent several unused pairs of the underwear to a University of Notre Dame scientist for testing and that the results were “bad news.”
According to her report, the underwear indeed tested positive for PFAS, including on the inside layers of the crotch.
Specifically, the article stated that the Thinx organic brief contained 3,264 parts per million (ppm) of fluorine and that the organic BTWN Shorty underwear for teens contained 2,053 ppm. These amounts were “high enough to suggest they were intentionally manufactured with PFAS,” Choy wrote.
The manufacturer of Thinx has maintained that its underwear is safe and does not contain PFAS; however, concerns persist surrounding the testing methods the company used to support its statements.
For instance, its choice of toxicology lab and whether the company tested for all 5,000 PFAS used in manufacturing – or just some of them – are among the issues that have cropped up.
In August 2021, Mamavation, a website dedicated to helping women avoid potentially toxic products, reported that a pair of Ruby Love underwear tested by an EPA-certified laboratory was found to contain more than 20 ppm of fluorine. Because the underwear had a detectable amount of fluorine, the website stated that it could not recommend the Ruby Love brand.
Mamavation also had two pairs of Knix period underwear tested for PFAS. According to a July 2021 report, the pair of Knix Boyshorts was found to contain 43 ppm of fluorine, while 373 ppm were detected in the Knix High Rise underwear. The website called Knix’s claim that its period underwear is 100% free from PFAS “incredibly ironic,” especially given the Knix High Rise pair had one of the highest levels of fluorine detected in its study.
What Are PFAS and How Are They Dangerous?
PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that include PFOA and PFOS, which have been described by the Environmental Protection Agency as “very persistent in the environment and the human body.” This means the chemicals don’t break down over time and have the potential to accumulate. In fact, PFAS are often referred to as “forever chemicals.”
Reports that certain menstrual underwear may contain PFAS are particularly concerning being as the garments are worn near the vagina, a particularly absorbent part of a woman’s body.
PFAS have been linked to a number of health problems, including but not limited to the following:
- High cholesterol
- Decreased fertility
- Hormone suppression
- Liver damage
- Thyroid disease
How Can a Class Action Lawsuit Help?
A class action lawsuit could help provide clarity on whether certain menstrual underwear products contain PFAS and, if successful, could force the companies to change the way they manufacture and/or advertise their products. Further, women could have a chance to be reimbursed for the money they spent on the underwear.
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