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Press Statement

First-ever ban on multiple toxic chemicals in menstrual products signed by Vermont Governor

Adopted with unanimous support, Vermont’s new law is the first in the nation to restrict phthalates, formaldehyde, mercury, and lead among other chemicals in menstrual products 

Health advocates applaud the move and anticipate more government and corporate policies to follow

WASHINGTON, DC⸺Today, Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed into law the first-ever ban on phthalates, formaldehyde, mercury, and lead, with 13 other harmful chemicals and chemical classes in menstrual products. Vermont’s new law also restricts these same chemicals, including PFAS, in personal care products, which aligns with policies adopted in Washington, Oregon, California, and Maryland. Minnesota, Maine, and Colorado have also banned the entire class of PFAS “forever chemicals” in menstrual products. 

Vermont’s new law also makes it the first in the nation to restrict PFAS in incontinence products. Additionally, the law bans PFAS in artificial turf, textiles, cookware, and juvenile products. Notably, the law establishes a community engagement plan to provide education and develop recommendations to address harmful chemicals being marketed to or used by marginalized populations.  

Leaders from Vermont including health advocates, legislators, and families impacted by toxic chemical exposure as well as states across the country applaud this move and anticipate more government and corporate policies to follow. The Vermont Public Interest Research Group, Vermont Conservation Voters, and Safer States released the following statements in response to this news.

“The Vermont Legislature once again passed a nation-leading ban on toxic chemicals by restricting some of the worst of the worst chemicals from menstrual products. The bill also builds on laws already in place in other states by banning a suite of dangerous chemicals from personal care products, and banning PFAS chemicals from a range of products,” noted Lauren Hierl, executive director of Vermont Conservation Voters. “As PFAS “forever chemicals” continue to harm Vermonters’ health and contaminate our drinking water, the urgency of turning off the tap of PFAS coming into our state continues to grow – and this bill takes critical steps to stem the flow.”

This marks an important step forward for Vermont’s continued efforts to protect our communities and our environment from exposure to PFAS and other toxic chemicals,” said Marcie Gallagher, environmental advocate at the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. “When it comes to toxics, every exposure pathway matters – and this is particularly true when it comes to products we use daily and on the most intimate parts of our bodies like cosmetics and menstrual products.”

“Vermont’s new law demonstrates the important leadership role that states have when it comes to prioritizing policies that protect people and the planet from toxic chemicals,” explained Sarah Doll, national director of Safer States. “The fact that not a single legislator voted against this bill underscores bipartisan consensus that these protections are urgent and necessary.”


Chemical companies sell PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) for application to products such as paper and textiles as stain-resistant, water-repellent, and grease-proofing treatments. These toxic compounds are also widely used in industrial processes and then discharged into waterways. PFAS have been linked to serious health problems such as cancer, immune system suppression, increased cholesterol levels, pregnancy-induced hypertension, liver damage, reduced fertility, and increased risk of thyroid disease. PFAS has been found in breast milk and in most products labeled stain- and water-resistant. PFAS are known as “forever” chemicals because they persist and don’t break down in the environment. Research has found that 3M knew in the 1970s that PFOA and PFOS are dangerous.

Toxic chemicals in menstrual products: Menstrual products like tampons and pads have been shown to contain toxic chemicals. Since FDA regulates and classifies menstrual products as medical devices, they are not required to disclose their chemical ingredients. However several states including California, New York, and Nevada have stepped up to fill this data gap and require manufacturers to disclose menstrual product ingredients. Additionally, three states including CO, ME, and MN have phased out the entire class of PFAS chemicals in menstrual products. 

PFAS in products: State governments are taking legislative and regulatory actions to phase out PFAS in products to prevent contamination in favor of safer alternatives. For more information on which states are taking action and how, visit Safer States’ Alliance Impact on PFAS and this State Action on PFAS chart. For example, laws in ME, MN, and WA have given state agencies the authority to ban PFAS in a wide range of products. Four states including CA, CO, ME, and NY have adopted restrictions on PFAS in apparel. Four states including CA, CO, ME, MN, and OR are phasing out PFAS in children’s products. Three states including CO, ME, and MN have restricted PFAS in cleaning ingredients, cookware, dental floss, and menstrual products. Seven states including CA, CO, MD, ME, MN, OR, and WA are taking action to eliminate PFAS in cosmetics. And much more. 

Retailers restricting PFAS: Retailers are aligning with state-level efforts to regulate PFAS in products, adopting comprehensive policies to phase out these hazardous chemicals, according to the Retailer Report Card. Currently, over 30 major retailers with more than 160,000 stores and more than $770 billion in sales have committed to eliminating or reducing PFAS in food packaging, textiles, cosmetics, and/or other products. For the full list, visit Toxic-Free Future’s fact sheet. For example, Target has committed to eliminating PFAS from a wide array of its products, spanning textiles, cosmetics, and cookware. Leading brands like REI, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Patagonia are actively reducing PFAS in textiles. Lowe’s and The Home Depot have committed to stop selling PFAS-containing carpets and rugs, with Lowe’s discontinuing PFAS-laden fabric protection sprays. More than a dozen grocery and fast-food chains such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Starbucks, Taco Bell, Ahold Delhaize, and Whole Foods Market have adopted policies restricting PFAS in food packaging. The leading electronics brand Apple announced plans to phase PFAS out of its products and manufacturing processes and to develop safer alternatives. IKEA was one of the first major retailers to ban PFAS in its products globally. 


Safer States is a national alliance of environmental health organizations and coalitions from across the nation working to safeguard people and the planet from toxic chemicals, and to ensure availability of safer solutions for a healthier world. Led by state-based organizations, the alliance seeks government and corporate action that lead to safer chemicals and materials, and protection of public health and communities by transitioning away from harmful chemicals and holding chemical polluters accountable.


Through research, education, collaboration and advocacy, VNRC protects and enhances Vermont’s natural environments, vibrant communities, productive working landscapes, rural character and unique sense of place, and prepares the state for future challenges and opportunities. 


Vermont Conservation Voters is the non-partisan political action arm of Vermont’s environmental community. Since 1982, our mission has been to defend and strengthen the laws that safeguard our environment. We work to elect environmentally responsible candidates. We then hold legislators accountable for the decisions they make affecting our air, water, land, wildlife, communities, and health. 



Stephanie Stohler

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