Thinx has settled a class action lawsuit alleging that its products contain harmful chemicals, though the company denies the allegations.
The vintage underwear brand has long marketed itself as a sustainable, organic alternative to traditional single-use products.
However, a class action lawsuit lawsuit accused Thinx of falsely claiming its products did not contain harmful chemicals after independent third-party testing found the products contained multiple polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), often referred to as “forever chemicals” and silver nanoparticles.
The May 2022 complaint alleged that chemicals found in Thinx products are “a safety hazard to the female body and the environment.” In fact, research shows that increased PFAS exposure is linked to reduced fertility in women.
Personal hygiene products for menstruating people have a history of posing health concerns for consumers, dating back to the 1980s, when tampons were first linked to toxic shock syndrome, the lawsuit says.
“The presence of these chemicals contradicts all of Thinx’s steadfast representations that the product is non-toxic, harmless, sustainable, organic, environmentally friendly, and safe for women and the environment,” the lawsuit states.
Class members were informed of the settlement this week, according to NPR. A District Court for the Southern District of New York gave preliminary approval for the deal in December. Thinx has agreed to pay up to $5 million in rebates for customers who purchased its products between November 12, 2016 and November 28, 2022. In addition, eligible customers can choose between cash back for up to three pairs of underwear or a coupon for a 35% discount.
Customers have until April 12, 2023 to file a refund claim.
Thinx quickly became one of the top leaders in the reusable menstrual product market, alongside other brands like Knix and Proof. However, the harmful chemicals were first found in Thinx products in early 2020. Shortly thereafter, two lawsuits, combined with the May 2022 case, were filed against the company.
Despite reaching an agreement, Thinx claims that PFAS has never been part of the design of its products.
“The lawsuit against Thinx has been resolved, the settlement is not an admission of guilt or wrongdoing by Thinx, and we deny all allegations made in the lawsuit,” a company spokesperson said in a company statement sent to HuffPost. “We will continue to focus on bringing innovative, safe and comfortable underwear with leak protection to consumers.”