An investigation has discovered that certain period pants sold by mainstream retailers contain significant amounts of silver, which could potentially have negative effects on the health and environment of consumers.
Silver is commonly utilized as an antimicrobial substance and is often incorporated into period pants to address concerns about odor and cleanliness.
Despite the growing concerns raised by scientists, the US Food and Drug Administration has discovered that nanosilver has the ability to eliminate lactobacillus, the beneficial bacteria found in the vagina that aids in protecting against infection. As a result, individuals who use period pants may be at a higher risk of harmful bacteria and therefore, potentially face a greater chance of developing bacterial infections or experiencing complications during pregnancy.
According to Natalie Hitchins, the leader in the field of home products and services at Which?, it is advisable for consumers to approach period pants with caution if they contain silver, as experts are worried about potential health consequences.
“According to Which?, it is important for brands to disclose which of their products contain silver, enabling consumers to make well-informed choices and be aware of any potential hazards.”
The consumer advocacy group collaborated with an Italian consumer organization, Altroconsumo, to conduct their own testing on popular brands in order to identify any potentially harmful chemicals. Their concerns were raised when they discovered that certain products contained high levels of silver, which was not always disclosed on the packaging.
The products Intima by Bodyform and pants by Marks & Spencer had a higher amount of silver compared to other brands. Intima contained 126.7mg of silver per kilogram, while Marks & Spencer had 57.8mg per kilogram. Other brands had 8.3mg/kg, 7.4mg/kg, and 0.9mg/kg respectively.
The company Essity, which owns Bodyform and Modibodi, stated that their underwear uses silver copper zeolite to eliminate odor for up to 12 hours. They also mentioned that their washable underwear is certified by Oeko-Tex Standard 100, ensuring that every part has been tested for harmful substances and deemed safe for human health.
No response was given by Marks & Spencer.
The organization Which? stated their belief that the use of silver was not needed and cited previous tests conducted by Altroconsumo which revealed that textiles treated with silver did not possess the promised antimicrobial properties.
According to the European Chemicals Agency, the use of silver treatments, including nanosilver and silver zeolite, has been found to be harmful to aquatic organisms and can have lasting impacts.
The tests Which? carried out can detect any silver above 0.1mg/kg, and it found none in Primark, Repeat, Wuka, Lovable and Sloggi pants. Sloggi’s website says it does use a silver-based antimicrobial, and Primark says it uses Micro-Fresh, which contains silver chloride.
According to a representative from Primark, period pants have the potential to develop odors during wear, similar to how bacteria can cause socks and shoes to become smelly. However, our antimicrobial finish helps to reduce these odors.
At the time of publication, Sloggi did not respond to Which?.
There are currently no legal restrictions in the UK regarding the amount of silver that can be included in period pants. Manufacturers are not required to disclose the use of silver on their packaging or website.