Thinx has established itself a class action lawsuit alleging that its products contain harmful chemicals, though the company denies the allegations.
The period underwear brand has long been marketed as a sustainable, organic alternative to traditional single-use products.
A class action lawsuit accused Thinx of falsely claiming that its products were free of harmful chemicals after independent third-party testing determined that the products contained them multiple polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), often referred to as “forever chemicals”, and silver nanoparticles.
The May 2022 complaint alleged that the chemicals in Thinx products “pose a safety risk to the female body and the environment”. Indeed, research shows that increased exposure to PFAS is associated with reduced fertility in women.
Personal hygiene products for people who menstruate have a history of consumer health concerns dating back to the 1980s, when tampons were first linked to toxic shock syndrome, the lawsuit said.
“The presence of these chemicals contradicts all of Thinx’s unalterable claims that the product is non-toxic, harmless, sustainable, organic, eco-friendly, and otherwise safe for women and the environment,” the lawsuit said.
Class members were notified of the settlement this week, according to NPR. A district court for the Southern District of New York gave preliminary approval to the settlement in December. Thinx has agreed to pay up to $5 million in reimbursements for customers who purchased their products between November 12, 2016 and November 28, 2022. In addition, eligible customers can choose between a cash reimbursement for up to three pairs of underwear or a 35% voucher discount.
Customers have until April 12, 2023 to submit a claim for a refund.
Thinx quickly became one of the main leaders in the reusable menstrual products market, along with other brands such as Knix and Proof. However, harmful chemicals came first found it in Thinx products in early 2020. Shortly thereafter, two lawsuits, combined with the May 2022 case, were filed against the company.
Despite agreeing to a settlement, Thinx claims PFAS has never been a part of the design of its products.
“The lawsuit against Thinx has been resolved, the settlement is not an admission of guilt or wrongdoing by Thinx, and we deny all allegations in the lawsuit,” a spokesperson said in a company statement to HuffPost. “We will continue to focus on providing consumers with innovative, safe and comfortable puncture protection underwear.”