SOMERVILLE — With only 20 states mandating free feminine hygiene products in school, a Somerville company has created a product to make providing free sanitary products as simple as refilling a roll of toilet paper. 

In Massachusetts, free feminine sanitary products are not mandated to be provided in school, however, Tom Devlin, founder of Egal, has invented a potential solution for this issue: pads on a roll. The pads are individually wrapped and packaged in a roll with perforated plastic covers so each pad rips neatly off the roll. The dispenser is just like a toilet paper dispenser and no vending machine or coins are necessary to get a sanitary pad.  Absorb Core

Devlin says he got the idea when his wife, a reporter for the Boston Globe, was writing a story about bathroom equity and quoted an advocate who argued sanitary products should be as common as toilet paper. He thought it sounded simple enough and Egal was born.

"Egal means equal and we are all about equality in the restroom," he told WBZ-TV.

Though Egal is just getting off the ground, pads on a roll are available at the University of New Hampshire. Cambridge Public Schools are trying out a pilot program in several restrooms in the administration building but hope to bring products to students.

"We want students to have access to instruction and we want all barriers and obstacles eliminated so menstrual equity is just one component," said David Murphy, Chief Operating Officer of Cambridge Public Schools. 

Devlin hopes to expand Egal, getting pads on a roll in restrooms everywhere. 

"We do eventually think it will be in every public space just like toilet paper," Devlin said. "Basically we're following the toilet paper wherever it is."  

Currently, there is a bill under consideration at the State House that would add Massachusetts to that list of states that require access to free period products in public schools.

First published on March 20, 2023 / 9:07 AM

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