The Thinx underwear has “material and trace amounts” of PFAS, the case says.
According to a proposed class action lawsuit, Thinx women’s underwear is falsely sold since it contains poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and silver nanoparticles while being claimed to be safe, healthy, and sustainable.
In a 41-page complaint from New York, the plaintiff, who lives in Okeechobee, Florida, says that independent, third-party testing has confirmed the presence of the harmful substances, which seems to go against Thinx’s “consistent representations that the product is non-toxic, harmless, sustainable, organic, environmentally friendly, and otherwise safe for women and the environment.”
Scroll down to see which Thinx products the lawsuit talks about.
According to the case, Thinx hid the real nature of its products, which it promotes as a more environmentally friendly way to take care of feminine hygiene. It did this by lying about the results of third-party testing, hiding the nature of its “anti-odor” technology, and telling customers that some of its underwear is organic. The lawsuit says that the “moisture-wicking” and “leak-resistant” qualities of Thinx underwear are the source of the PFAS chemicals, while the “silver nanoparticles” come from the antimicrobial coating on the underwear.
“Thinx’s misbranding is done on purpose, and it makes Thinx Underwear worthless or less valuable,” the lawsuit says. It says that if people knew the items contained harmful chemicals, they wouldn’t have bought them or would have paid less for them.
What Thinx items are part of the lawsuit?
In the complaint, Thinx styles like the cotton brief, cotton bikini, cotton thong, sport, hiphugger, hi-waist, boyshorts, French cut, cheeky, and thong are all mentioned.
Case says that Thinx underwear has “material and trace amounts” of PFAS.
According to the case, Thinx is well aware of the demand for reusable menstrual hygiene products and has become a market leader at a time when more people are worried about the chemicals in single-use period products and how they affect the environment. The suit says that the company advertises Thinx as “washable, reusable underwear” that can be used instead of pads and tampons or with pads and menstrual cups for extra protection.
“Every advertisement, marketing campaign, instructional video, and public statement about Thinx’s products, without exception, tells customers to use Thinx Underwear the same way they would use regular menstrual products or underwear,” the lawsuit says.
Even though Thinx has been praised for its mission, “material and trace amounts” of short-chain PFAS have been found in the company’s products by independent, third-party testing, which the complaint says is “industry standard” for finding out if certain materials meet quality and safety standards.
The case says that PFAS is a group of chemicals made by people that can be used to make textiles and clothing work better. According to the suit, PFAS are often used in outdoor clothing, such as to make it waterproof or stain-resistant. The carbon-fluorine bonds in PFAS are some of the strongest in nature. This means that the chemicals can stay in the body and the environment for a long time.
The lawsuit says that Thinx might use PFAS to “improve the performance” of its underwear, like making it “wick away moisture” and stop leaks.
A suit says that silver nanoparticles are linked to the antimicrobial treatment Thinx.
The lawsuit goes on to say that Thinx says on its website that its underwear does not contain toxic metals or man-made nanoparticles, but silver and copper nanoparticles stay on the fabric because it is treated with Agion, an antimicrobial coating, to prevent odors. According to the case, the size of the nanoparticles is what makes them dangerous for people.
Nanoparticles are tiny things that are too small for the human eye to see. Whether they are made in a lab or found in nature, nanoparticles are dangerous because they are so small that they can easily enter the human body through breathing, eating, or the skin.
The filing also says that a nanoparticle’s natural state does not make it automatically safer than one that was made in a lab.
“Thus, Thinx’s claim that its underwear does not contain “engineered nanoparticles” is misleading to a reasonable consumer,” the lawsuit says. It also says that Thinx’s underwear contains silver nanoparticles, which are not mentioned on the packaging.
Importantly, the lawsuit says that silver nanoparticles pose a special risk to the female body, especially when they are in period products, because they have been found to cause “ultrastructural changes to the vaginal mucosa, urethra, and rectum” and bad effects on vaginal bacteria.
“Thinx does not tell consumers that Agion is an antimicrobial or that it contains silver and copper nanoparticles, which are known to move around and pose a safety risk to the female body and the environment,” the case says. So, Thinx’s claims that its underwear doesn’t have any harmful chemicals, toxic metals, or man-made nanoparticles are false and misleading.
Even Thinx underwear is not organic, according to the case.
Last, the lawsuit says that four styles of cotton Thinx underwear are not organic like they say they are because they contain PFAS, which makes them ineligible for certification by the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS). According to the lawsuit, GOTS is the most widely used processing standard for organic fibers, and it decides whether or not a fabric can be called organic.
In reality, the lawsuit says, Thinx does not have any independent organic certifications, follows industry standards for organic clothing, or only uses organic cotton.
ALSO SEE: Which Bottled Water does not have Pfas?
Who’s covered by the lawsuit?
The case aims to represent all people in the U.S. who bought the Thinx underwear in question during the longest time period allowed by law.
I bought some underwear from Thinx. How do I get involved?
When a class action lawsuit like this one is first filed, you usually don’t have to do anything to join or make sure you’re part of the case. In reality, a consumer wouldn’t have to do anything until and unless a lawsuit is settled. This could mean sending in a claim form online or through the mail.
If the lawsuit is settled and you are one of the people who are “covered,” you would probably get a letter or email telling you about it. This notice will probably tell you how to file a claim, what your legal rights are, what proof you might need to get your money, and other important information.
Most class action lawsuits take a while to get to a settlement, dismissal, or arbitration.
For now, people who buy Thinx underwear and anyone else who wants to keep up with news about class action lawsuits and settlements should frequently visit this page.