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Period products have slowly evolved throughout the years, but there are now more options for period care than ever before (yay!), and the Thinx brand had a lot to do with the market’s growth.
Thinx launched their revolutionary period underwear in 2013, followed by their bladder leakage underwear, Speax, in 2015. They seek to make products for periods and incontinence more sustainable, comfortable, and accessible.
However, Thinx has had its fair share of controversy. As The Cut reported, there were allegations of sexual harassment against former CEO Miki Agrawal in 2017 (the case was eventually settled and the complaint withdrawn). There have also been complaints of a toxic work environment.
But apparently, that’s not the only thing that’s toxic. As reported in NPR, Thinx has now settled a class-action lawsuit claiming their underwear contains human-made chemicals called per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAs).
There are two types of PFAs, short-chain (containing fewer than eight carbon atoms) and long-chain (containing more than eight carbon atoms, also referred to as “forever chemicals”). The brand has marketed its underwear as organic and non-toxic; however, according to third-party testing, certain varieties of underwear contain short-chain PFAs.
Besides being difficult to break down, PFAs have been linked to a wide range of health issues. According to a November 2020 study published in Environmental Research, cancers, thyroid problems, hormone disruption, infertility, and cardiovascular disease are among the issues related to PFA exposure.
Thinx has denied that PFAs were intentionally added to their products, telling NPR, “The settlement is not an admission of guilt or wrongdoing by Thinx.” Thinx also pledged to take measures to ensure PFAs aren’t intentionally added at any stage of production.
The settlement covers underwear bought between November 12, 2016, and November 28, 2022. Consumers who purchased underwear from Thinx between those dates may be entitled to financial compensation and can submit a claim here.
There are a few alternative brands if you’re rethinking Thinx, but some of these brands have also come under scrutiny. According to ClassAction.org, Knix was faced with a class-action lawsuit in April 2022 over their products containing PFAs.
Meanwhile, Mamavation, a source that claims to conduct “eco-wellness product investigations for moms,” found that Cora products also contained PFAs. But in that case, while the number of PFAs found in Cora underwear was detectable, it was likely the result of contamination rather than having been intentionally added. Still, it’s worth keeping in mind when deciding whether or not to purchase.
On the other hand, The Period Company’s website claims that third-party testing found their fabric to be free of PFAs. On their product pages, they write, “We are proud to be one of the few period underwear brands that do not use any toxins in our products, because who wants chemicals near the most sensitive part of their body? Not us. Or you.”
Their high-waisted heavy-period underwear is affordable and fantastic for even your heaviest flow. They’re also ideal for women going through perimenopause and postpartum.
Their period sleep shorts are made with organic cotton and built-in five-layer padding to provide a leakproof night’s sleep. We also love the brand’s inclusive sizing—from XS to 6X.