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17 March 2021
Until now, at-home pregnancy tests were made of plastic, designed to be used once and then thrown out. And if the person taking the test didn't want to share its results, they'd worry someone might find it in the trash.
A newly launched test by Lia solves both the plastic and the privacy issues: weighing no more than 4 squares of toilet paper and made of the same non-woven cellulose, it can be easily flushed or composted — its natural plant fibers biodegrade in just 10 weeks. As co-founders Bethany Edwards and Anna Couturier Simpson state, "We created the Lia pregnancy test because you shouldn't have to choose between privacy, accuracy or mother nature."
The test, which created a huge buzz when it was first announced in 2017, is now finally available for sale, priced at USD 13.99 for two. The long development time — Edwards and Couturier Simpson filed for a patent nearly seven years ago — shows just how tricky it can be to develop and manufacture a product that holds up long enough for a customer to use, but breaks apart quickly when flushed or composted.
Lia's tests are FDA-approved and over 99% accurate, just like existing at-home tests. Buyers can choose between green 'Signature' packaging and 'Ultra Discrete', which is plain and white for extra privacy. Inside wrappers for both are nondescript and don't mention the test's purpose. Like the tagline says, "Over 99% accurate, 0% plastic, and 100% your business."
In the US alone, around 20 million at-home pregnancy tests are sold every year and end up in landfills. And that's just for reproductive health — the diagnostics industry goes through millions of other single-use plastic tests. Time to reengineer those, too?