2021 Outlook

By Jane Wishneff

BAHP, Executive Director, The Center for Baby and Adulty Hygiene Products

Despite the many challenges that the members of The Center for Baby and Adult Hygiene Products (BAHP) faced during the global pandemic, the industry association showed resilience and strength in 2020 through its significant membership growth and legislative victories. These accomplishments will be used as a foundation to build upon as the organization prepares to elevate its brand, further grow its membership and address key challenges in 2021.

Product ingredient transparency

Two states, California and New York, now require menstrual product manufacturers to list ingredients on package labels. Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not mandate ingredient labeling, the industry is working diligently to incorporate these new requirements onto its product packages and is also relying upon BAHP to assist in this roll out with tools for industry and critical sources of education for consumers.

The California Menstrual Product Right to Know Act
of 2020 requires ingredients to be listed using a standardized nomenclature. If one does not exist, BAHP is required to establish an ingredient name. BAHP and
its members are working to develop the process and framework for a BAHP Menstrual Product Ingredient Dictionary to be made available for all menstrual product manufacturers in 2021. Standardization of nomenclature, while a useful tool for manufacturers to comply with the law, will also allow consumers to better understand the ingredients used in menstrual products and be able to compare different product brands in a more consistent and uniformed approach. Other industries, such as the personal care and cleaning products industries, have undertaken similar projects successfully and are being used as models for BAHP.

Additionally, BAHP is creating an Ingredient Glossary that will be published on its consumer-facing website, www.femcareanswers.com. The Ingredient Glossary will list ingredients used in menstrual products, provide a brief explanation of each ingredient’s purpose and function, and supply key information to consumers regarding these essential products. As consumers begin to see new ingredient information on product labels, it is imperative that the industry aid in the education and understanding of that information.

While industry is focusing on implementation of these two state disclosure laws, BAHP continues to see additional jurisdictions introduce similar legislation and is currently working towards a federal disclosure standard in an effort to avoid a patchwork of varying state requirements already emerging from these first two laws. BAHP is advocating for the federal requirement to model the California law as it balances a consumer’s right to know with protecting valid company proprietary information. Additionally, the California Menstrual Product Right to Know Act provides adequate implementation details to ensure a level of consistent labeling requirements across the industry for consumer benefit.

As consumers begin to see new ingredient information on product labels, it is imperative that the industry aid in the education and understanding of that information. 

Beyond disclosure

BAHP anticipates continued efforts in 2021 to address product and ingredient safety, as well as proposals addressing the disposal of personal absorbent hygiene products. New York has already introduced legislation banning specific ingredients used in menstrual products, among others, and is providing for the establishment of government-funded committees to conduct research on materials deemed to be of concern. BAHP’s proactive efforts, such as the development of a Menstrual Product Ingredient Glossary, will provide additional insights to what ingredients are actually used in the manufacturing of these products as most of those targeted by these policies are, in fact, not intentionally added ingredients. Legislators in New Jersey are also showing interest in menstrual products by seeking additional education for consumers on both ingredients and also of the rare, but deadly condition of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). While incident rates are not rising in the United States, the industry has noticed an increased interest and attention of the topic from both policymakers and the media through mandated educational programs and increased warning labels. BAHP and its members are exploring how to enhance its current outreach to young girls on this topic, but believes that additional labeling of TSS is likely preempted by the FDA.

Monthly educational webinars

New this year, BAHP is hosting a monthly webinar series highlighting policy, marketing and other related business trends in the personal absorbent hygiene industry. This complimentary webinar series is open to both BAHP members and nonmembers and focuses on issues such as sustainability, menstrual health and industry engagement on Capitol Hill.

For more information about BAHP, contact Executive Director Jane Wishneff at jwishneff@socma.org.

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