First-in-the-Nation Law Requires Ingredient Labels on Menstrual Products
Protects Women and Girls by Allowing for More Informed Purchasing Decisions
On the Day Of The Girl, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation (S.2387-B/A.164-B) requiring menstrual product packages or boxes sold in New York State to contain a plain and conspicuous printed list of all the ingredients in the products. This new law makes New York the first state in the nation to require ingredient labels on menstrual products. The legislation will take effect in 180 days, and product manufacturers will have 18 months to develop new packaging or labels with the ingredients.
"Practically every product on the market today is required to list its ingredients, yet these items have inexplicably evaded this basic consumer protection," Governor Cuomo said. "It's part of the pervasive culture of inequality in our society that has gone on for too long, and that injustice ends today as we become the first state in the nation to mandate ingredient disclosure and empower women to make their own decisions about what goes into their bodies. This builds on the reproductive health protections that New York has safeguarded for women and girls across our state and we are proud to lead the nation by advancing these critically important new protections."
Tampons, pads and other menstrual products are widely used by women across the United States, but they are often marketed and sold with little or no information about the ingredients they contain. These menstrual products may contain toxic and allergenic chemicals that can cause significant health concerns. Requiring the disclosure of ingredients in menstrual products will allow women and girls to make more informed decisions about the products they use.
"We want to make sure the ingredients in menstrual products are transparent and safe for young girls and women," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "With this new law, New York is the first in the nation to require ingredient labels on menstrual products. This important step builds on our efforts to expand access to menstrual products, requiring schools with students in grades six through twelve to have feminine hygiene products available. With increased access to menstrual products and disclosure of ingredients, we are addressing the issue and the stigma, and continuing to ensure equality for all women and girls in New York."
Senator Roxanne J. Persaud said, "It seems logical considering the personal nature of menstrual products that we require manufacturers to disclose the ingredients in the products that are widely used by women in the most intimate part of their bodies. Consumers deserve transparency when shopping for any product. I am thrilled to see New York lead the way in the implementation of common-sense policy, and hope to see more states follow suit. Many thanks to Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal for championing this bill, and much appreciation to the Governor for seeing the importance of this landmark new law."
Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal said, "Now that my bill to require menstrual product ingredient disclosure on packaging has become law, every single New Yorker who uses tampons and pads will know exactly what's in the products they use in and on some of the most sensitive parts of their bodies for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, one week out of the year for as many as 40 years. This first-in-the-nation disclosure law firmly establishes New York as a national leader on menstrual equity. Menstrual product ingredient disclosure is a vital consumer empowerment tool, and will hold menstrual product manufacturers to the highest level of accountability. It is my hope that more states follow suit."
Across the world, periods are often stigmatized, and women and young girls who menstruate are often shamed. Today, New York becomes the first state in the nation to advance period equity through statute, in the process raising awareness about periods, how to access menstrual hygiene products and ensuring these products are safe.
Poor menstrual hygiene can lead to physical health risks, including reproductive and urinary tract infections. It may also prevent women from reaching their full potential because it causes them to miss out on school and other activities that are crucial to their growth and development.
Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York State is leading the way in addressing issues of inequality and stigma, ensuring that no girl's learning is hindered by lack of access to the products she needs. In 2018, Governor Cuomo signed legislation requiring all public schools to provide free feminine hygiene products in restrooms, as well as legislation to provide free feminine hygiene products to women in state and local correctional facilities. In July 2016, Governor Cuomo signed legislation to eliminate sales tax on feminine hygiene products.