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Do you know what’s in your period pants? Here at WUKA, we’ve always been transparent about the materials we use, but recent tests carried out by consumer magazine Which? suggests that not all pants are subject to the same rigorous assessments as ours. Here’s everything you need to know about silver in period pants, and our thoughts on the Which.co.uk report. 

The lowdown on the Which?.co.uk Report

The Which?.co.uk article published back in November 2023- titled ‘Are Your Period Pants Safe?– caused quite a stir across our socials, and prompted lots of you to get in touch with questions about WUKA period pants. And rightly so! 

As consumers, we’re all entitled to know exactly what we’re buying in to- especially when it comes to products designed for use in intimate areas. So what did the report tell us?

Are there chemicals in Period Pants?

The tests took place following reports of PFAS and nanosilver being found in a particular brand of period pants. Working with AltroConsumo, Which?.co.uk carried out their own independent tests on a variety of reusable period pants- including WUKA. 

The aim? To find out if there are chemicals in period pants.  

Do WUKA period pants contain silver?

Let’s make this clear straight away. WUKA period pants do not contain silver.

The results of the testing revealed “notable levels of silver in pants” from a few well-known UK bands, but absolutely no traces were found in WUKA period pants. 

Here at WUKA we’ve always been transparent about the materials we use, and we will happily answer any questions you might have about our products. 

In a largely unregulated industry, we’re steadfast in our commitment to you: we will always put the health of people and planet first. 

There cannot be shortcuts when it comes to women’s health, and so we invest in rigorous testing by independent third parties to ensure that we’re always PFAS free and silver free. We’re not required to do this, but as a proud B Corp and champion for women’s health, we do it because we care- a lot- about what we do.

In the UK, there are no laws regarding the use of silver in period pants. Manufacturers don’t have to declare it either. So it’s up to brands like us to be transparent about our products; and up to consumers to understand as much as they can about what they’re buying.

Why do some period pants contain silver?

So why do some period pants contain silver? It might seem strange, but it’s there as an anti-microbial agent. Let’s unpack that.

Silver is added to period pants in order to combat odour and to neutralise ‘harmful bacteria’. But there’s no evidence that menstrual blood even contains harmful bacteria. In fact, this notion serves only to perpetuate the myth that period blood is dirty. It’s not.

Blood (any blood) will smell if it comes into contact with oxygen- i.e, when you bleed. Menstrual blood may smell a little differently, due to mixing with bacteria found in the vagina. This is normal!

This is also why we use CoolMax™ technology, and why our pants have a super absorbent gusset made up of many layers- so the blood is locked away from the body, leaving you feeling fresh and odour-free. 

No silver needed. 

In fact the Which?.co.uk article actually points out that of the 20 products they tested, “only one third… were effective at being antimicrobial. Many of the samples lost their silver content after just two washes.”

What’s the problem with silver in period pants?

Many of you might be wondering what the big deal is, so let’s break it down. 

According to the report, the findings of the tests are “potentially concerning, as experts we spoke to suggest silver is at best an unnecessary extra, and at worst may have as yet unknown health implications.”

What are the health implications of silver?

According to this 2018 study, nano silver has the ability to kill lactobacillus (the bacteria found in the vagina, essential for helping to fight infections down there) – meaning pants that contain silver can potentially increase the risk of harmful bacteria growing in the vagina, which could lead to an increased risk of infections.

But it’s not just health implications we should all be concerned about. There are environmental factors to consider too, as pointed out in the Which?.co.uk article:

“silver used in textiles can impact the environment if it leaches out when you wash your pants and gets into waterways, which is alarming considering the eco credentials espoused by many brands.”

This is backed up by this 2022 study, which found that “Nanosilver and the transformed products are toxic to environmental microbes.” However, scientists do agree that more research is needed in order to assess the full implications of this. 

So is silver in period pants safe?

The burning question: is is safe to wear period pants that contain silver? 

This European Commission report, Are Silver Nanoparticles Safe? states that “The toxicity of silver, including nanoparticles of silver, to humans is generally low,” and goes on to say that “In general, consumer products release only small amounts of silver, not resulting in significant health effects.”

But the same report does also state that there are now more and more products on the market that contain nanosilver, and this means that people and planet are being exposed to new sources of silver, and that “additional effects caused by the use of silver nanoparticles cannot be ruled out and should be further evaluated.”

The lack of research into the impact that silver can have on both the body and the planet needs addressing. We should not be exposing any part of our bodies to chemicals that have not been assessed for risks, and until we know more we cannot 100% say that silver in period pants is safe.

Ultimately, it’s crucial that we are all informed about chemicals that are used in the products we buy, so that we can make an informed choice.

Related posts:

The Importance of Your Vaginal pH Levels

Guide to Period Blood Smell 

Are People Happy with their Menstrual Products?

PFAS

FAQ

Do WUKA period pants contain silver?

The simple answer is no. We don’t use any added antibacterial spray or silver treatment, nor do our period pants contain any harmful PFAs. They are safe for you, your health, sea animals and the environment. We conduct independent testing on our fabric to ensure no traces of PFOS or PFOA are present (the most notorious chemicals in most comfortable products).

Is silver harmful in period pants?

More research is needed, but there is evidence that nanosilver can damage the good bacteria your vagina needs to stay healthy. There are environmental implications too. 

Why is silver added to period pants?

Silver is added to some period pants to combat odour and to fight harmful bacteria. There is no evidence that it is needed for either of those functions, and its effectiveness has not been proven either. 


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