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How biodegradable is the Lia test, really?

When we started out designing the first truly eco-friendly pregnancy test, biodegradability was a top requirement for us. Not only did we want the Lia test to be flushable, it had to be fully biodegradable in soil. To test this, we needed to get our hands dirty.

We believe in easy access to information, both for you (your pregnancy test results) and for us — our (biodegradable) results. We’ll be posting updates here, so if you’re really into looking at things decompose, we’ve got you covered.

The upshot

Before we get into results, let’s talk about what this study means for you. If we do well on this test, it means that disposing of Lia gets easier and safer. It confirms that, like toilet paper, Lia will biodegrade right back into the environment after flushing, composting, or even burying in your backyard! And that means extra peace-of-mind for you when it comes to concern for marine life or persistent trash. Lia, because it’s biodegradable, won’t cause any issues in these areas.*

Test conditions

On November 13, we began a real-time biodegradability study in soil. Basically, we took four Lia tests and gave them to a third-party lab, who buried the test in soil and set a timer. After set time intervals, this lab will be uncovering our tests that have been buried in soil, in order to observe how quickly the test takes to biodegrade 100%.

After two weeks

Four Lia tests covered in dirt, partially broken down.

Click to Reveal

After two weeks, the Lia pregnancy tests are still intact. Our lab described their condition as “humid” — Lia’s material has been steadily absorbing water from the atmosphere and the soil, and all of the tests are caked with dirt and bacteria. Click for photo reveal — if you dare.

After one month

Lia tests have disintegrated and are now indistinguishable from dirt

Click to Reveal

Four weeks in, the tests are starting to look more like dirt than anything else. As the lab tech said, “The pregnancy tests started to fall apart into pieces of variable size. The remaining test material was very fragile. Moreover, its color had become dark brown.” Click to reveal.

After ten weeks

Two weeks before the study was set to conclude, the lab sent us the following report:

“The disintegration of the test material has proceeded swiftly. After 10 weeks of incubation, not a single piece of the test could be retrieved. … Because of the good result, the test was stopped.”

A photograph of a laboratory dirt sample. Lia test material cannot be seen.

Click to Reveal

The experiment showed that the Lia test biodegraded completely in under 10 weeks — that’s less than three months! For comparison, a banana peel left out in the elements as litter can take as long as six months to degrade — over double what it took the Lia test. An apple core takes two months on average, and a wool sock (a natural material) can take up to five years.

We’re pretty thrilled with these results. Not only is Lia flushable, but it’s proven to biodegrade completely in soil less than three months, so if you’re not comfortable flushing, disposing of Lia is as easy and eco-friendly as tossing it on your compost pile or burying it in your flowerbed.  

*Note — While biodegradable, we still don’t condone disposing of Lia by littering.

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