Next in our Period Powerful Profile series we’re chatting to Molly, Founder of Love Your Period. Molly is pioneering change with her petition asking the UK government to make it a requirement for period care manufacturers to list ingredients on product boxes.
Firstly, could you please tell us about yourself?
Hi! My name is Molly Fenton, the founder of the Love Your Period (LYP) campaign. I am a 17-year-old pupil from Cardiff, Wales. I am starting my AS levels in September and I spend almost all my free time campaigning for LYP!
What inspired you to start up this petition and what’s it all about?
In January 2019, after doing a report of Period Poverty and Stigma in the UK, I started a campaign – Love Your Period. The campaign was started to make people aware of period poverty and stigma. I want to tackle period poverty over Wales and as much of the global population as possible.
I have started a petition asking the government to make it a legal obligation for period product manufacturers to label their ingredients on their packaging. It is a legal obligation for food manufacturers, so why isn’t it the same?
Why is this important?
Up to 90% of the conventional period products you are using are PLASTIC. Not only is this causing huge environmental issues, but it is having a detrimental effect on our bodies. Due to being used in such an intimate area, we are absorbing plastic up to 10x FASTER than if it were just on our skin. This may surprise you. I didn’t know this either. This plastic causes foreign oestrogens (used in thyroxine for metabolism, serotonin for our sense of well-being and dopamine for our motor function) to make our oestrogen levels rise causing hormone imbalances. This excess oestrogen can cause heavy periods, infertility and, more seriously, female cancers.
It should be able easy for us to find what is in the products we are using so intimately, so we know what our bodies are absorbing and what this means for it
In your opinion, why do you think period care products have never been questioned before, and how come manufacturers have been able to hide ingredients?
I really don’t know – it’s something I’ve never been able to get my mind around. To be honest, I never questioned them myself. It wasn’t until I saw an article entitled ‘New York Just Made Menstrual History’ in May 2019. The article describes how New York is set to be the first state in the nation to require period product makers to disclose ingredients on their packaging. Looking into this, I found out that they are regulated as ‘medical devices’ and subsequently it isn’t required for the ingredients to be on the packaging.
What’s the reaction to the petition been like so far?
AMAZING! We currently (as I am writing this) have 460 supporters after just 3 weeks. We would love for as many as people as possible to share the petition so we can get more signatures.
How many signatures do you need to make this petition succeed?
I don’t have a specific number, but I am aiming to get 1000 by September! I am also going to get a paper petition started to go to various places across South Wales! We just need to show the Welsh Assembly and Westminster that we have enough people to support this movement for a law to be passed.
If this gets enough support, what are the next steps?
If this becomes as successful as I hope, every product that will be sold in the UK would have to have its ingredients labelled on the packaging. This will enable everyone to have the right to make their OWN decisions about what products they use, with the knowledge of the effects they have on their bodies and the surrounding environment. Hopefully, people will start using more organic products aiding their own health and the environment, and in the long-term companies will cut down on plastic. Organic companies have shown that plastic does not have to be used for sanitary products.
What would you like to say to anyone who is yet to sign the petition?
Every. Single. Signature. Counts. I am relying on YOU for our generation’s future health. Let’s work together to make a difference not just for ourselves, but for our children and their children. No matter who you are, these period plastic issues will or would’ve already affected you or someone you know. Your signature 100% counts. If you haven’t signed already, please do, as your signature could be the decision-maker.
And finally, what are your top 3 period essentials?
It’s so hard to pick 3! I must choose organic sanitary towels (they’re so soft!), lots of chocolate-covered strawberries (they’re technically healthy…) and my emotional support mini teddy rabbit, Flopsy, for when I’m crying for no reason, get angry out of nowhere or PMS anxiety is through the roof.
Thanks to Molly for chatting to us and for starting this period powerful petition! Discover more about the petition here or follow Love Your Period on Instagram for more updates. Our period powerful profiles series puts the spotlight on changemakers and inspirational pioneers who are championing causes and making a difference. Catch up with another profile here, where we chatted to Manjit Gill, founder of Binti international.