Ever wondered how tampons which we so conveniently put inside our bodies and disposable sanitary napkins that make our skin burn, red with rashes, are produced? Ever thought about the effects they might have on our health? How does the chemical soaked plastic react with our most sensitive body part?
If this is something that hasn’t occurred to you, now is the time to wake up and take control of your health. We are here to set the grounds for a stimulating discussion with you.
A few ‘not-so-fun-facts’ on disposable sanitary napkins and tampons:
Did you know that the ultra-white “clean” look comes from chlorine bleach?
It produces dioxins that not only can cause cancer but have no level of safe use according to the Environmental Protection Agency! We have been socialized to believe that any product wrapped prettily in plastic is hygienic, it’s time to question our assumptions.
Moreover, I feel that pesticides are probably not the best thing for the vagina… or any other body part (and I hope you agree, it’s a legit thought). Materials used to produce tampons and sanitary napkins are grown using pesticides. Vaginal membranes are filled with blood vessels, which makes absorption of chemicals into the bloodstream very easy. When we insert tampons, they create micro-tears in the vaginal wall that allows bacteria to accumulate, and creates a favorable environment for growth of the poisonous bacteria ‘staph’. This can lead to the infamous, potentially fatal Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).
But wait, there’s more! It’s not just our bodies that are being harmed…
According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, a conventional sanitary pad can contain the equivalent of about four plastic bags!
A woman uses an average of 11000 – 16000 tampons in her lifetime.
This and other plastic laden feminine hygiene products adds up to 180 billion plastic bags going down our waste stream. Adding to these mind-boggling numbers, a sanitary napkin and tampon stays in the landfills for 500-800 years! Boggle your mind some more to imagine the grim consequences of their entire lifecycle – from production to disposal. We have already started seeing the effects of disposable pads and tampons on our oceans – killing wildlife, destroying biodiversity and potentially changing their habitat. This of course will come back and bite us.
Now I could go on and on about the problems but I would rather take your attention to the bright side of things.
Enter menstrual cups and organic cotton pads!
GOOD FOR THE BODY: By using organic cotton pads or menstrual cups (made with medical grade silicon) we dramatically reduce risk of infections, irritation and more serious risks that we have seen above.
GOOD FOR THE EARTH: Reusing menstrual products in a hygienic manner reduces ALL that waste going to the streams and will leave you feeling empowered.
GOOD FOR THE POCKET: A cloth pad is re-usable for 3-5 years and a cup for 10 years, I’ll leave it up to you to do the simple math and let your pocket feel the happiness!
By using organic cotton pads or menstrual cups (made with medical grade silicon) we dramatically reduce risk of infections, irritation and more serious risks.
Hope this article makes you want to engage in more discussions about the choices given to a woman’s body.
We wish to take you on a journey of (re)discovering your menstrual cycle with two mid-wives Gisèle Piroit et Claire Rayappa, to discuss in depth these innovative solutions for menstruation and look forward to learn from your experiences of menstrual culture around the world. We met them on December 1st at CAFéS!
PS: We sincerely invite men to indulge in discussions as well. Would love to hear your concerns about women’s health and our environment!
Let’s open the doors to happy menstruation!
Nandini Agarwal, November 2017
This article is based on:
– Understanding Toxic Shock Syndrome — the Basics: WebMD Medical Reference, Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on March 14, 2017, URL: https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/understanding-toxic-shock-syndrome-basics#1
– Toxic Shock Syndrome: Mayo Clinic, “Are Tampons Safe? 7 Reasons We Should Be Concerned About the Ingredients in Feminine Hygiene Products”, RACHEL KRANTZ, May 18 2015, URL: https://www.bustle.com/articles/83591-are-tampons-safe-7-reasons-we-should-be-concerned-about-the-ingredients-in-feminine-hygiene-products
– 7 Powerful reasons why you should switch to reusable menstrual products, Kimberley Mok, TreeHugger, 2014, URL: https://www.treehugger.com/health/reasons-why-you-should-switch-to-reusable-menstrual-products.html
– Women Beware: Most Feminine Hygiene Products Contain Toxic Ingredients, HuffPost, the Blog, Dr. Joseph Mercola, 2013, URL: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/feminine-hygiene-products_b_3359581.html
– Disposable Menstrual Products: Convenience at What Cost? , EcoFemme, URL: https://ecofemme.org/convenience-cost-part-2/
– Periods have become a problem, Women’s Environmental Network, URL: https://www.wen.org.uk/environmenstrual/
– Conventional Feminine Hygiene Products: A Women’s Issue with Toxic Implications, Andrea Donsky, URL: http://naturallysavvy.com/care/conventional-feminine-hygiene-products-a-womens-issue-with-toxic-implications