What's in Your Period Underwear?
We spend a lot of time at Venus Matters researching fabrics to find the very best in safety, practicality, and beauty. Along the way, we’ve had the opportunity to use silver-infused fabrics, touted for their anti-bacterial benefits.
Exposing the bodies of our customers to nanoparticles of silver just seemed too risky—intuitively, we passed (we do, however, offer the only FDA approved anti-bacterial fabric made from the biomass of shellfish in our Deluxe Venus Mat covers).
So when we saw the environmental organization, Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE), had released a new fact sheet on the use of nanosilver in period products, we took it a step further, emailing a popular period underwear company about the use of nanosilver in their undies (frustratingly, it's not stated upfront on their site).
“Thank you for reaching out! The organic cotton moisture-wicking layer of our undies has a non-migratory, ionic silver application to manage the odor. This technology is commonly used on athletic wear for its odor prevention properties, has been tested, and is widely used across the apparel industry.”
Not so fast. According to WVE, every study on these silver-impregnated fabrics has shown them to migrate, and in fact, their effects on the healthy bacteria of the vagina has not been fully studied. The WVE fact sheet states:
“The purpose of adding silver (in whatever form) to a fabric is to release silver ions which effectively kill bacteria. Nanosilver is a form of very small-sized silver which easily releases silver ions, is not very expensive, and thus is commonly used. Any other form of silver, in order to be an effective antibacterial agent, will also release silver ions, thus posing risks of exposure.”
We love period underwear but we believe this technology deserves to be studied more, and at the very least, openly communicated to customers upfront. Many women don't know they may be exposing themselves to silver particles by using these products. We have found two period underwear companies that assured us they do not use nanosilver: Lilova and Flux.
The convenience and reduction in waste from using period panties is surely a good thing. But exposing women to potential harm is not. We ask our sister companies using nanosilver to, at the very least, state upfront that they are using silver in their products while insisting that this technology be further studied—not on unwitting women.
Meanwhile, be sure to not wear silver-infused period panties while getting an MRI, the metal may heat up and can burn the skin (yikes).
Period on, friends of Venus Matters, be informed and be #periodpositive.