If you purchased period underwear made by Thinx, you may now be eligible for a refund through a class action settlement announced in November.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit accused Thinx of using — and not telling customers about — potentially harmful chemicals known as PFAS in underwear.
Thinx, which launched in 2013 and is based in New York, has agreed to pay $4 million to pay claims submitted by customers and for all court-approved attorneys’ fees, expenses and service awards that could be due to customers. The company has also agreed to provide up to an additional $1 million if needed to cover valid claims.
“As part of the settlement, Thinx agreed to take numerous steps to ensure that PFAS are not intentionally added to products at any stage of production, which directly addresses the concerns of Complainants and Class Members” , Erin Ruben, attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement. “We are very pleased that the settlement provides consumers with this important non-cash relief in addition to cash reimbursement.”
Thinx denied all of the plaintiffs’ allegations in the settlement, emphasizing that the settlement was not an admission of guilt.
“We take customer health and product safety seriously,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. “We can confirm that PFAS have never been part of our product design. We will continue to take steps to ensure that PFAS are not added to our products.”
PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a family of synthetic chemicals used in the manufacture of consumer products – including food packaging, cosmetics or textiles such as raincoats or workout clothes – due to their ability to resist stains, grease and water.
The presence of PFAS appears to have been reported for the first time in January 2020 in the Sierra Club magazine, “Sierra”, with the title “My period underwear contains toxic chemicals”. Journalist Jessian Choy sent her Thinx to a nuclear scientist at the University of Notre Dame, who found high levels of PFAS, “particularly on the inner layers of the crotch.”
This went against Thinx’s claims that its products were “certified” organic, Choy wrote.
PFAS are called “eternal chemicals” because they can persist permanently in air, water and soil. Exposure to PFAS has been linked to low birth weight, high cholesterol, thyroid disease and an increased risk of certain cancers such as liver cancer.
“With the extent to which we see PFAS in the environment and in our bodies, and the truly harmful effects that occur at low levels of exposure, we must act urgently to remove PFAS from all clothing” , said Erika Schreder. , scientific director of Toxic-Free Future, an environmental health research and advocacy group.
“We would be particularly concerned about exposure through the skin from a textile worn next to the skin for long periods of time,” she added, citing preliminary evidence that PFAS can cross the skin barrier and potentially penetrate. in the bloodstream.
Thinx customers can receive a $7 refund for each purchase of up to three pairs of vintage Thinx underwear that is on file with Thinx or for which they provide valid proof of purchase.
Complaints can be submitted here.