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ANSES publishes the results of its additional assessment of menstrual cups and tampons

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News of 20/01/2020

Following its 2018 expert appraisal on the safety of feminine hygiene products, ANSES is now publishing the results of its additional assessment. It confirms the need to provide better information to women and health professionals on the risk of menstrual toxic shock syndrome (TSS), which concerns all internal sanitary protection products (tampons, menstrual cups, etc.).

The Agency supplemented its expert appraisal work with additional testing of menstrual cups and tampons, in order to better characterise the composition of their materials and estimate the risks in relation to Staphylococcus aureus, the bacterium responsible for TSS.

These tests revealed the presence of chemicals in tampons and menstrual cups, which did not however exceed the health thresholds. Furthermore, ANSES found no direct link between the physico-chemical properties of the materials in these feminine hygiene products and an increased risk of TSS.

Nevertheless, the Agency recommends that manufacturers improve the quality of these products in order to eliminate or minimise the presence of chemicals.

Concerning TSS, ANSES points out that the risk of developing this syndrome, which is caused by a bacterial toxin, is associated with the conditions of use of all forms of internal sanitary protection products. It therefore recommends that clearer information on the risk of menstrual toxic shock syndrome and its symptoms be provided to health professionals and women. With regard to packaging and leaflets, this request for improvement particularly concerns manufacturers of menstrual cups, which arrived on the market only relatively recently.

ANSES therefore reminds users of the importance of complying with the hygiene rules associated with the use of sanitary products, particularly the length of time that tampons and menstrual cups can be worn. Women are also recommended to use tampons or menstrual cups only during menstruation, and to choose products adapted to their menstrual flow.