Representative Carolyn Maloney Introduces Legislation To Regulate Feminine Hygiene Products, Which Somehow Isn't A Thing Yet

Most of us probably only think a lot of feminine hygiene products, aka sanitary supplies, aka the only thing that stands between civilization and free bleeding, when we find ourselves stranded without them... but that might be a mistake. Representative Carolyn Maloney recently introduced some feminine hygiene legislation that would require the National Institute of Health to investigate any potential negative side-effects connected to the products — which, shockingly, isn't something they bother with now. Because why should we expect anyone to care about women's health and safety, right?

And as if that's not enough of the "I'm somehow surprised, even though this isn't actually surprising, because of course"-type of news, there's also this: Rep. Maloney has actually introduced the legislation nine different times, only to get shut down each and every time. Nine. Times. Remember that thing I said about not expecting anyone to care about women's health and safety? Sigh. Just... sigh.

Currently, the FDA requires all pad and tampon producers to test the products' safety before selling them; this testing, however, is done privately by the companies themselves, rather than by an independent agency. Some products, such as vaginal wipes, don't even have to go through testing at all.

As Rep. Maloney, who is a Democratic representative to the House of Representatives from New York, told Reality Check, "We need more dedicated and substantial research to address unanswered health concerns regarding the safety of feminine hygiene products.” She continued, “American women spend well over $2 billion per year on feminine hygiene products, and the average woman will use over 16,800 tampons and pads over the course of her lifetime. Despite this large investment and high usage, there has been limited research on the potential health risks these products may pose to women.”.

Maloney's bill, named the Robin Danielson Feminine Hygiene Product Safety Act of 2015 after a girl who died of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) in 1997, would require the NIH to conduct independent research into the potential risks of synthetic fibers and chemicals used in feminine hygiene products. It would also mandate that FDA verify data submitted by feminine hygiene product manufacturers; furthermore, all findings would be available to the public.

Currently, the latest iteration of the bill is currently in the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Hopefully, it actually makes it out this time.

Image: Wikipedia Commons; Giphy