SEOUL, Sept. 29 (Korea Bizwire) — Sanitary pads pose no health risks to women, health authorities said Thursday, disclosing the result of their inspection of all products sold on the market.
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said it has examined a total of 676 sanitary pads manufactured or imported over the past three years for volatile organic chemical compounds (VOCs) to see if they contain any harmful chemicals.
The test showed that even if a woman uses 7.5 pads per day throughout her life, the sanitary products pose no health risks.
VOCs, like benzene and formaldehyde, have low water solubility and a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperature. While not all VOCs are hazardous, a few may pose long-term health risks.
The inspection was focused on a few highly dangerous chemicals, including benzene. The ministry said it will carry out inspections on the other VOCs and announce the results at the end of this year.
“The ministry deems disposable pads, cotton pads and other kinds of pads imported from overseas not harmful to the body,” it said in a press release. It assured the public there is no need to be worried about using such products.
The inspection came after a local activist group claimed that 6 out of 10 users of the controversial Lilian brand sanitary napkins have experienced menstrual disorders, including unstable cycles and painful periods, due to possible side effects.
In March, the group, along with a research team led by Kangwon National University professor Kim Man-goo, said that 22 kinds of harmful materials were detected in 10 different products.
Following the announcement, five manufacturers of sanitary pads released a joint statement, expressing regret over the latest controversy.
“We will cooperate to make clear safety guidelines so that consumers can trust our products,” they said in the statement.
Yet, some consumers remained skeptical about the government’s findings, saying it should come up with further explanations for those who said they suffered side effects after using the disposable pads.