Essity B 268 (-0.7 SEK) on 19-Sep-2021 17:29

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Essity's Product Safety Team

At Essity we believe in being fully transparent with our customers. Here we answer your most frequently asked questions. 

I worry about my family and my own wellbeing - but also about the environment. Is it not better to create products that are completely natural?

All of us in the product safety team use Essity products at home and trust them with our own families. We want to create the best products while doing the right things for the environment. We try to find a good balance and will never compromise on the safety of our products.

Remember, just because an ingredient is natural doesn't mean it's safer for us than a man-made one. There’s no real black and white. Many "natural" things can actually be bad for us.

How safe a chemical is depending on what it is, how much is used and how the product is used - whether natural or man-made. And materials that don’t meet our strict requirements simply aren’t put into our products.

And of course, whenever there are better options for the environment, we use them. Just like you, we love our planet and want our kids to be able to enjoy it too. We’ve signed up to lots of projects to reduce our environmental impact and make sure we're as sustainable as can be.

Are the products me and my family use friendly to our skin?

Making our products skin-friendly is a must. We use them too - and we wouldn’t want to break out in a rash. That’s why we check to see our products are working for our millions of customers worldwide and make sure every ingredient meets our strict standards. Some lucky volunteers even get to try our products before they go on sale! This means the risk of skin irritation from our final products is low.

So low in fact, we’ve had fewer than 1 health complaint per 50 million incontinence products sold, fewer than one health complaint per 60 million feminine products sold and fewer than one health complaint per 10 million baby products sold.

I see so many worrying things on the internet related to intimate health. Are my usual products still safe to use?

The stuff we read on the internet can get a bit scary, can’t it? Bad chemicals, bleaching, toxic shock syndrome… it’s a lot to take in. That’s why we look very closely at our products and materials to make sure they’re safe.

We usually go beyond national and EU legislation when testing our products. That’s why all unwanted trace chemicals in our products are extremely low. So low in fact, you’d need some pretty high-tech equipment to detect them.

We also only use carefully chosen perfumes and clearly label every product, so you know exactly what’s inside. We of course also have unscented versions if you have sensitive skin or allergies.

And our tampons are safe - as long as they’re used properly. Only the very few women who have suffered from toxic shock syndrome or experience any similar symptoms should avoid using them.

Why do your products contain preservatives, glues, dyes and perfumes?

We’d never add anything to our products just for the sake of it. Every part is there for a reason and is tested before it’s added.

Preservatives in our water-based products are there to stop contamination and we must use glues in our products to hold parts together. But don’t worry, we choose each glue really carefully, especially if they come into contact with skin.

And if we use perfumes or dyes in a product, it’s to make the whole experience of using them more pleasant for you - and they are still safe.

Do your products contain harmful chemicals?

It’s good to remember that chemicals aren’t always bad and are often natural. That delicious, sweet sensation when you bite into a banana for example, is a chemical being picked up by your taste buds. Everything is made up of chemicals.

But of course, certain chemicals can be dangerous, which is why we’re really careful to control them.

We only use pure ingredients. And we’re really strict with ourselves when creating and testing products to make sure that levels of concerning chemicals are low and safety standards are high. That way, we can sleep soundly at night knowing that our products are safe for you, your family and the world.

Do you test on animals?

We never test our products on animals unless there’s no way to avoid it. For instance, in some countries - like China - we have to, because the law says so.

And we never add ingredients or use materials taken from animals.

Although we’re as careful as possible, we choose not to label our products as vegan. That’s because we can’t 100% guarantee that others in our supply chain haven’t come into contact with materials which come from animals.

Please see also Essity's position on animal testing

Are rules on hygiene and personal care products strict enough for me to know they are really safe?

When it comes to keeping people safe, you can’t have too many rules. And luckily, in most countries, these products are well regulated to make sure they're safe. They have to follow a variety of different rules, for instance:

  • cosmetic regulations (our soaps, lotions, wet wipes)
  • general product safety regulations to do with chemical laws (our hankies, toilet paper, baby diapers, feminine liners and pads)
  • tampons (in certain countries),
  • medical device regulations (our incontinence assortment, face masks, tampons (in certain countries))
  • food contact regulations (our kitchen towels and napkins)
  • biocide regulations (our hygiene products which have an additional antimicrobial effect)

We follow them all and apply them even in countries where the rules are softer. What’s the point in doing everything to keep people safe in one country, but not another? That makes no sense to us.

Regulations change over time, too. But we’re not ones for waiting about for rules to change - and apply the science as soon as it’s ready. 

You can learn more about our commitment to safe products in the Essity Supplier Standard.