FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 11, 2019
Contact: Chris Dobens, 212-961-1000 ext. 320, firstname.lastname@example.org
ALBANY, NY — New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed the Period Products Labeling Act into law today, legislation that requires manufacturers selling period products in the state to clearly disclose their ingredients on the package labeling. WE ACT for Environmental Justice – in partnership with Clean and Healthy New York, the JustGreen Partnership, and Women’s Voices for the Earth – was instrumental in generating interest and support for this legislation, which was sponsored by Senator Roxanne J. Persaud (D-Brooklyn) in the Senate (S02387B), passing by a 51-11 vote, and was sponsored by Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) in the Assembly (A164B), passing the by a 146-0 vote on June 20, 2019. Manufacturers will now have eighteen months to comply.
“For years, women’s health has been at the mercy of the companies making period products because they’ve not been required to disclose any of the toxic chemicals they intentionally add like nanosilver, which kills bacteria necessary for a healthy vagina,” said Cecil Corbin-Mark, Deputy Director and Director of Policy Initiatives at WE ACT for Environmental Justice as well as Co-Leader of the Just Green Partnership. “People who menstruate, especially those who live in communities of color where there are disproportionate levels of toxic exposure, have a fundamental right to this information—especially considering the health risks some ingredients like nanosilver pose. We thank the Governor for enacting this groundbreaking policy.”
According to a 2013 report by Women’s Voices for the Earth, period products are a $3-billion industry in the United States, and the most popular products are tampons and menstrual pads, which are used by 70-85 percent of American women. Manufacturers do offer some products that are free of the most harmful chemicals, but these are priced at a premium, which forces women in low-income communities to have to choose between financial and bodily health.
“In addition to the Governor, we also want to thank the sponsors of the bill, Senator Roxanne J. Persaud and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, for their leadership in getting it passed,” added Corbin-Mark. “Our hope is that this legislation, along with the work we and our partners will continue to do to raise awareness of this issues and the dangerous chemicals like nanosilver, will help make consumers better informed and put pressure on manufacturers to avoid using harmful chemicals.”
“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.”
“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,” said Senator Roxanne J. Persaud. “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.”
“The Governor’s decision to codify the tremendous work of Assembly Member Rosenthal and Senator Persaud by signing the Period Products disclosure bill into law confirms what we have always known – Governor Cuomo is an ally to menstruators in New York State,” said Kathleen Curtis, LPN, Executive Director of Clean and Healthy New York and Co-Leader of the JustGreen Partnership. “Clean and Healthy New York’s work is focused on peoples’ right to know about toxicants in their daily lives, and the need for swift, comprehensive government and corporate action when harm could occur. We deserve to know what ingredients we’re putting in and on our bodies. Thanks to this critical piece of legislation, we finally will.”
“Disclosing ingredients is no longer a ‘nice to have’ when it comes to consumer products, customers now demand it,” said Meika Hollender, Co-founder & CEO of Sustain Natural. “Especially when it comes to tampons, of which menstruating people use an average of 11,000 in their lifetime, there is no way to argue in my mind that a person should not have the right to access information about what’s in these products. In order to make responsible and informed decisions about our health, and the health of our families, it is a consumer’s right to know what’s in their products. This law will make New York State a leader in ingredient transparency, while also supporting innovation, and I am thrilled that I and Sustain have been an advocate since day one.”
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WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a Northern Manhattan membership-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low-income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices. WE ACT has offices in New York and Washington, D.C. Visit us at weact.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.