PFAS and Period Underwear - what does it all mean?

 You may have noticed “PFAS” has been in the news lately linked with period underwear. You might be wondering what it all means and how AWWA fits into the discussion. 

Let’s take a step back. What exactly are PFAS?

PFAS, or polyfluoroalkyl substances are a group of chemicals, sometimes called “forever chemicals” as they do not break down in the environment. PFAS can be found in many everyday products - for example they are commonly added to products that resist water and stains.

And what does that have to do with period underwear?

Research shows that exposure to PFAS can cause a range of health problems in humans. The presence of PFAS has been found in some brands of period underwear. Many people make the switch to period underwear to move away from some of the toxic ingredients found in products like pads and tampons, so PFAS in period underwear has been an upsetting discovery.

Does AWWA test for PFAS?

We sure do. Fabrics used in the production of our underwear have been tested by Bureauveritas in China. They test for Fluorine, as this is the key detection which would indicate the presence of PFAS (as there are thousands of different variants of PFAS).  

The test results came back as ND (None detected). NOTE: A test result under 100 ppm (parts per million) is considered “ND”. If PFAS are intentionally added, the quantities will be much higher!

You can view our certification here:
August 2022
March 2023, March 2023
April 2023
May 2023

So, AWWA period underwear is safe?

Yes!  You can read our PFAS Policy here.

 We are committed to revolutionising periods for menstruators while doing everything we can to care for you and Papatūānuku, our planet. We would never intentionally add anything harmful to our period underwear, including PFAS. Our founders created these products, thinking about the period care they wanted for their own daughters - so we would never intentionally add anything that wasn’t safe. 

What about the other materials you use?

We are serious about manufacturing AWWA with the highest quality materials.  We choose suppliers with OEKO-TEX® ands GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certification. These factories have high standards to achieve this certification, including ensuring that no harmful chemicals are used in the processing or dyeing of the fibres and fabrics. 

We have a traceable supply chain. This means we know where our materials come from at each stage. 

Other layers in the gusset include:

  • An anti-microbial layer which uses a quaternary ammonium salt compound.
  • For moisture wicking we use polyester polymer resins.
  • PUL is the leak proof layer which has been made in an Oeko-Tex certified factory. 

We are committed to revolutionising periods for menstruators while doing everything we can to care for you and Papatūānuku, our planet.  We are always striving to improve our processes to give our customers as much transparency as possible. If you have any questions that we haven’t answered,  please reach out to us at

 (Last updated: 14 March 2023)


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