EO 4 Approved Specification for Menstrual Products

Covered Products 
  • Pads 
  • Tampons 
  • Menstrual cups 
  • Menstrual underwear and reusable pads 

 

Goals 

The goal of this specification is to provide menstruating individuals with more sustainable products that promote human and environmental health. 

 

Background 

In July of 2018, Public Health Law § 267 went into effect and requires all public schools to provide free menstrual products in bathrooms to students. This legislation increases the amount of purchasing of these products by the state, including SUNY and CUNY schools. 

In October of 2021, General Business Law § 399-aaaa, the Menstrual Product Labeling Law, went into effect, and requires “each package or box containing menstrual products sold in this state shall contain a plain and conspicuous printed list of all ingredients which shall be listed in order of predominance. Such list shall either be printed on the package or affixed thereto.” 

Given the research that has been done regarding ingredients included in menstrual products, this specification lays out the requirements purchasers shall look for when purchasing from vendors. 

 

Definitions 

Elemental Chlorine-Free (ECF) bleaching – a wood pulp bleaching technique that uses chlorine dioxide, but not elemental chlorine gas. 

Fragrance – a substance or combination of chemicals that imparts an odor or scent or is designed to counteract an odor. Fragrance ingredients may be synthetic, derived from petroleum or natural raw materials. 

Nanomaterials – Chemical substances or materials with particle sizes between 1 to 100 nanometers in at least one dimension. Common nanomaterials include, but are not limited to nano-silver, titanium dioxide, Azo pigments, synthetic amorphous silica and iron oxide. 

Nano-silver is also classified as an antimicrobial and is found in some pads and menstrual underwear. 

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) - A class of fluorinated organic chemicals containing at least one fully fluorinated carbon atom. 

Totally Chlorine-Free (TCF) bleaching – Wood pulp bleaching operations that are performed without the use of chlorine, sodium hypochlorite, calcium hypochlorite, chlorine dioxide, chlorine monoxide, or any other chlorine-containing compound. 

 

Specifications 

For pads, affected entities shall, to the maximum extent practicable purchase products that comply with the following: 

  • Disclose all intentionally added ingredients, including those in coatings and adhesives 
  • 100% Cotton top layer 
  • Core layer - 100% Cotton or Wood Pulp / Cellulose that is rayon-free and TCF or unbleached 
  • Fragrance-free 
  • No nanomaterials 
  • No antimicrobial additives 
  • Totally Chlorine-free (TCF) bleaching process or unbleached (Note: elemental chlorine free, or ECF, does not qualify) 
  • Carbon Disulfide-free 

For tampons, affected entities shall, to the maximum extent practicable purchase products that comply with the following: 

  • Disclose all intentionally added ingredients, including those in coatings and adhesives 
  • 100% cotton 
  • Recycled cardboard applicator or none 
  • Fragrance free 
  • No nanomaterials 
  • No antimicrobial additives 
  • Totally Chlorine-free (TCF) bleaching process or unbleached (Note: elemental chlorine free, or ECF, does not qualify) 
  • Carbon Disulfide-free 

For menstrual cups affected entities shall, to the maximum extent practicable purchase products that comply with the following: 

  • Disclose all intentionally added ingredients
  • 100% medical grade silicone – no latex included 
  • Dye-free 
  • Non-disposable 

For menstrual underwear and reusable pads, affected entities shall, to the maximum extent practicable purchase products that comply with the following: 

  • Disclose all intentionally added ingredients, including those in coatings and dyes 
  • No intentionally added PFAS 
  • Non-disposable 
  • No silver or other antibacterial coating treatments 
 
Packaging 

Packaging shall comply with Environmental Conservation Law section 37-0205. Packaging shall not contain inks, dyes, pigments, adhesives, stabilizers, or any other additives to which any lead, cadmium, mercury, or hexavalent chromium is intentionally added or contain incidental concentrations of lead, cadmium, mercury or hexavalent chromium which together are greater than 100 parts per million by weight (0.01%). 

New York State encourages affected entities to adopt the following in order of preference when purchasing items that come in packaging: 

  • Items that do not need packaging, or the packaging is part of the product. 
  • Items that come in reusable packaging. 
  • Items that come in bulk packaging. 
  • Items that come in innovative packaging that reduces the amount of packaging. 
  • Items that come in packaging that remains the property of the supplier and does not become the property of the end user under any circumstance or condition. The vendor shall certify that the packaging material will be reused, recycled, or composted, and managed in compliance with applicable local, state, and federal laws. 
  • Items that come in packaging that maximizes recycled or biodegradable (compostable) content and/or meets or exceeds the minimum post-consumer content level for packaging in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines. Biodegradable products should only be used in areas where a composting facility exists that accept the material. 
  • Items that come in Packaging that is recyclable or biodegradable (compostable). Biodegradable products should only be used in areas where a composting facility exists and will accept the material. 

Approved on April 15, 2022