What to Know About the Thinx Period Underwear Lawsuit

The brand just settled a class action lawsuit claiming its products contain potentially harmful chemicals.

Women Wearing Thinx Period Underwear
Courtesy of Thinx.

Thinx, the period underwear brand, recently reached a settlement in a class action lawsuit over allegations that its products contain potentially harmful chemicals.

According to the lawsuit, third-party testing found short chain per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (known as PFAS) and an anti-microbial treatment called Agion in its products. This is significant because Thinx has long marketed its products as sustainable and non-toxic.

While Thinx denies the allegations made in the lawsuit and claims PFAS were never part of its product design, news of the lawsuit — brought into the spotlight this week after the official settlement website was created — is raising questions about the chemicals and whether or not consumers should be concerned.

Keep scrolling to learn more about PFAS and the Thinx period underwear lawsuit.

What are PFAS?

PFAS stands for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances. These are "widely used, long-lasting chemicals," and there are thousands of them, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Sometimes referred to as "forever chemicals," they break down very slowly and are often found in the blood of people and animals due to their widespread use. PFAS, which are man-made and have been around since the 1940s, are also found at low levels in food products, the environment, and consumer products.

While their prevalence seems concerning, it's also what makes them difficult to study and determine how much risk they really pose to people and the planet, notes the EPA. Even experts still have many questions about PFAS, including how they can better be detected, how harmful they are to humans and the environment, and how to manage and dispose of them.

More research is needed, but there are studies linking PFAS to health effects, including fertility issues, increased risk of some cancers, and interference with hormones, according to the EPA.

Why is Thinx involved in a lawsuit?

Thinx has been served with at least three lawsuits since 2020, according to Class Action. While the brand claims its period underwear are non-toxic, third-party testing has found PFAS in its products. Agion, an odor-reducing agent made from silver and copper nanoparticles, was also found in the underwear, despite the fact that Thinx claimed its products don't contain non-migratory nanoparticles and harmful chemicals.

What settlement has Thinx reached?

Thinx has agreed to pay up to $5 million dollars to settle the class action lawsuit known as Dickens, et al. v. Thinx Inc. The deal received preliminary approval from the court on November 28, 2022 and involves those who bought Thinx period underwear in a variety of styles (Cotton Brief, Cotton Bikini, Cotton Thong, Sport, Hiphugger, Hi-waist, Boyshort, French Cut, Cheeky, and Thong) between November 12, 2016 and November 28, 2022, according to the settlement website.

If you bought any of these styles of Thinx period underwear within the listed time period, you can submit a claim online before April 12, 2023 to receive a refund or discount voucher.

Additionally, Thinx has agreed to help ensure PFAS are "not intentionally added" to its products. Suppliers will have to review and sign an agreement attesting PFAS are not intentionally added to raw materials used to make the underwear. Lastly, Thinx will have to share the use of anti-microbial treatment, such as Agion, as well as the purpose of their use, on its website.

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