New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law Friday to help women navigate menstrual products on the same day as the United Nations' International Day of the Girl. The legislation will make New York the first state in the country to require companies to print a "simple and conspicuous" ingredient list on all packages or boxes of menstrual products.
The law goes into effect in 180 days and companies will have 18 months to create new packaging that meets the requirement.
Menstrual products may contain "toxic and allergenic chemicals" that should not be disclosed by the federal government, Cuomo's office said in a statement.
Cuomo tweeted that he is "proud to sign legislation ... to end injustice and empower women to make their own decisions about what goes into their bodies."
According to the FDA, the risks of using tampons include adverse tissue reactions, vaginal injuries or infections, and toxic shock syndrome, while menstrual pads can cause adverse tissue reactions. The governor's statement also cites reproductive health risks and urinary tract infections that can arise from poor menstrual hygiene.
Because menstrual products are generally classified as medical devices by the FDA, companies are not required to list ingredients on container labels. However, the FDA maintains a recommendation guide for creating and distributing the products.
Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal, who sponsored the bill, said it will help hold businesses accountable.
"All New Yorkers who use tampons and pads will know exactly what is in the products they use on some of the most sensitive parts of their bodies 24 hours a day, seven days a week, one week of the year for up to 40 years" , He said. "Disclosure of menstrual product ingredients is a vital tool for consumer empowerment."
The law is part of a series of menstrual and poverty-promoting laws that Cuomo has passed in recent years.
In 2018, it required all public schools to provide free feminine hygiene products in restrooms and mandated that women in state and local corrections receive free feminine hygiene products. In 2016, it eliminated the sales tax on feminine hygiene products.