Detox the Box! – Toxic Chemicals Don’t Belong in Feminine Products. Period.

Olivia Hayden

Chloroform in maxi pads?! Pesticides in tampons?! Spermicide in feminine wash?! Unbelievably, research shows that many of today’s feminine products contain a host of chemicals that may cause cancer, disrupt hormones, or cause unnecessary allergic reactions. Lax laws have resulted in a marketplace that allows tampons, pads, washes, wipes, and other feminine products to be sold without pre-market safety testing of chemicals used and no requirement to even list all the product’s ingredients. Given the widespread use of these products, the particularly sensitive exposure route for women, and the lack of regulatory oversight, Women’s Voices for the Earth launched the ‘Detox the Box’ Campaign with the goal to eliminate toxic chemicals from the multi-billion dollar U.S. feminine products market. From viral videos and online actions, to women literally showing up wearing tampon boxes on Procter & Gamble’s doorstep, women nationwide are demanding to know what’s in the products they use so intimately – and demanding they be guaranteed safe. Come to learn about hidden toxics in feminine care products, and the inspiring ways that women are moving mountains to demand safer products.

This talk will be introduced by Gayle Grindley, Customer Business Manager for Whole Foods Market at Unilever.

Erin Switalski, Executive Director, Women’s Voices for the Earth

Erin Switalski is the Executive Director of Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE), a national organization that amplifies women’s voices to eliminate the toxic chemicals that harm women’s health. WVE works within the social justice and environmental health movements to amplify the voices of all women to advocate for their health. Recent victories include moving the largest consumer products company on the planet, Procter and Gamble, to remove the carcinogen 1,4 dioxane from all of their laundry detergents (representing 70% of the U.S. market share) through a campaign that engaged nearly 100,000 women nationwide, and passing legislation in California to require ingredient disclosure for cleaning products. Erin is a 2010 winner of the “40 Under 40” Leadership Award in Advocacy from the New Leaders Council. She is also featured in the 2014 Link TV special, UNSAFE: The Truth Behind Everyday Chemicals. Erin regularly speaks about the power of women to move major corporations and influence policy.

Gayle Grindley, Customer Business Manager, Whole Foods Market, Unilever

Gayle has lived in Chicago for ten years and currently leads the Whole Foods Market team for Unilever, which includes purpose driven brands such as Seventh Generation, Ben & Jerry’s, Talenti Gelato, Sir Kensington’s and others.  For over 20 years she has worked in the natural products industry in various categories, but always focused on brands with purpose and the greater good.  Gayle has been involved with Whole Planet Foundation for five years and is passionate about giving women the opportunity to make the best choices for their own lives through the power of microlending.



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Teaching Room
Learn more about what we put into our bodies.