Recent studies have found that five popular brands of tampons have detectable levels of fluorine, indicating that they have polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These long-lasting chemicals can cause severe and negative health conditions, such as cancer, liver damage, and thyroid disease. Women that suffer from PFAS exposure through these tampons can experience significant damages like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Manufacturers of these tampons can be held liable in a product liability lawsuit for failing to warn consumers of the dangerous effects of their products. A product liability lawyer can help you assess your damages, collect evidence to prove the at-fault party’s liability, and pursue compensation through settlement negotiations or a court case.
What are Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances AKA PFAS?
Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are toxic, human-made chemicals used in a number of consumer and industrial products for their oil, water, and stain-resistant qualities. Known as “forever chemicals,” these substances are designed to last a long time, leading to them building up in the environment. They can contaminate the blood of people and animals and cause life-threatening illnesses.
PFAS has found its way into the environment through a variety of vectors that themselves have become the focus of PFAS lawsuits. AFFF firefighting foam is a significant PFAS and PFOS contaminant that is the focus of many lawsuits. PFAS from firefighting foam has even found its way into sources of drinking water along with other contaminants which has led to even more lawsuits.
PFAS Found in Tampons and Other Feminine Care Products
A recent study from Mamavation found that five popular brands of tampons, two of which have been advertised as organic, have fluorine in them. The presence of fluorine can indicate that the products also have PFAS. The initial study involved the testing of 23 tampon products at a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-certified lab.
The study found that the following five brands had 19 to 28 parts per million of fluorine in them:
- Maxim Hygiene Organic Cotton Cardboard Applicator Tampons
- OrganYc Complete Protection Tampons
- Playtex SPORT Regular & Super Tampons
- Tampax Cardboard Applicator Unscented Tampons
- The Target brand of Up & Up Regular Tampons
PFAS were not the only harmful substances found in tampons over the years, as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (like phthalates and bisphenol-A) were found in other recent studies. Investigations from Mamavation and other companies have also found levels of fluorine in yoga pants, underwear, leggings, and makeup. Many feminine care products and clothes have exposed women to PFAS which can cause adverse health conditions.
How Did These Tampons Get Contaminated by PFAS?
Each of the 23 tested products had different designs, materials, additives, and absorbency levels but no indication of how the contamination occurred. It’s likely the materials were not purposefully added and occurred due to contamination in the supply chain. The contaminated tampon brands contacted Mamavation and revealed they are adjusting products to account for contamination.
The following are some of the ways they found the tampons got contaminated:
- Fluorinated plastic exposure
- Fluorinated fiberglass exposure
- Fluorinated packaging
- Fluorinated storage containers
- Fluorinated sprays
- Fluorinated lubrication
- Contamination of raw materials
What Adverse Health Effects Can PFAS Cause?
Women exposed to PFAS through tampons have toxic chemicals enter the body through the vaginal area. PFAS can affect every organ in the body. Due to the vagina being a vascular area, dermal exposure is higher than in other areas of the body. This can increase the likelihood of PFAS toxicity affecting the body’s organs. PFAS finding its way into the body can lead to organ damage, cardiovascular problems, and other adverse health effects.
The following are some of the adverse health effects caused by PFAS exposure:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Reduced immunity
- Reduced vaccination response
- Increased cholesterol levels
- Lowered fertility
- Kidney cancer
- Endocrine disruption
- Disrupted thyroid functioning
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Breast cancer
Filing a Product Liability Claim for PFAS in Tampons
Product liability claims are designed to hold manufacturers liable for negligence that leads to a consumer experiencing harm. The three types of product liability claims involve design defects, manufacturing defects, or failure to warn of the dangers of a product.
In the case of damages caused by PFAS in tampons, victims can file a product liability claim to hold the manufacturers of those five brands liable for failing to warn of PFAS in the products. The manufacturers did not take reasonable action to keep consumers safe and can be liable as a result. A product liability lawyer can look over your case and determine the best path forward for holding the at-fault party liable for their negligence.
Damages in a PFAS Tampon Claim
The PFAS in select tampons and feminine care products can cause significant damages that you can pursue compensation for through a product liability claim. Damages are losses you sustained due to the negligence of the at-fault party. A product liability attorney with PFAS case experience can help you assess your current and future damages to ensure you recover fair compensation for the full cost of your damages.
The damages involved in these types of personal injury cases typically fall within two categories. Economic damages are those with a specific monetary value attached to them and can include medical bills, lost wages, and lost earning potential. Non-economic damages are intangible losses that do not have an economic value but reflect how your standard of living has been affected by the at-fault party. These can include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and mental anguish.
The following are some of the damages you could pursue for a PFAS tampon claim:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of society
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
Consumers have a right to products that do not put them at immense risk due to contamination of dangerous chemicals. If you or your loved one have suffered from the aforementioned illnesses and have utilized the five brands found to be contaminated with PFAS then you may be able to seek compensation for these damages by filing a product liability lawsuit.