A study of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in urine did not find an association between use of menstrual products and VOCs. The study, which measured VOCs in the urine of reproductive-aged women across the menstrual cycle, is published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Women's Health.
The study showed that tampon users had higher urinary concentrations of 2-butanone and methyl isobutyl ketone than those who used pads/liners during their periods. Sung Kyun Park and coauthors from the University of Michigan examined the variations of urinary VOC concentrations during menstrual cycles in 25 women and evaluated the relationships between the use of menstrual products and urinary VOC concentrations. They also linked urinary VOC concentrations to those measured in menstrual products. "We did not see statistically significant variations in VOC concentrations across the menstrual cycle," stated the authors. They did find that "estimated levels of n-nonane, benzene, and toluene in the menstrual products were associated with urinary levels of these VOCs."
It remains unclear whether VOCs in feminine hygiene products increases health risks for women who use them."
Journal of Women's Health Editor-in-Chief Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health, Richmond, VA.
Ding, N., et al. (2021) Feminine Hygiene Products and Volatile Organic Compounds in Reproductive-Aged Women Across the Menstrual Cycle: A Longitudinal Pilot Study. Journal of Women's Health. doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2021.0153.