Do you have any idea about the ingredients used in your tampons and sanitary pads? Most women don’t and neither did I until very recently.
In our modern day, google savvy, online society, it is astounding to me that a veil can be so effectively drawn over the ingredients found in feminine hygiene products. These are things which we women put into close contact with our nether regions. I mean, they literally touch or even enter your vagina, fifi, fanny, flower, tuppence, cunt or any other cute name your mother dubbed your bits when you were a child taking a bath. Most commonly, we simply use whatever sanitary products our mothers used, without considering that we have a choice.
What is the reason behind this? Well, feminine hygiene products fall into the category of ‘medical device’, which is their get-out-of-jail-free in terms of full disclosure to consumers. Andrea Donsky, founder of Naturally Savvy has conducted research which proves that one conventional sanitary pad contains the same ingredients as approximately four standard sized plastic bags – plastic wrapped vagina, anyone? We are gradually being made more aware of the dangers associated with hazardous petrochemicals, which is more than slightly concerning when we consider that we place such substances next to and into the most intimate places of our body. Petrochemicals are derived from petroleum and crude oil.
You’re bleaching your vagina
Yes, you: the fibres in your tampons and sanitary pads are bleached. That’s why they look so fresh, clean and white. During the bleaching process, toxic dioxins remain in the fibres. Tampons also contain polypropylene, which is derived from crude oil. Fancy some crude oil up your fanny? Whether you use sanitary pads, tampons or both, it is exactly the same principle: they contain a medley of harmful chemicals and your lady place is one of the most absorptive parts of a woman’s body. The skin around and inside your vagina is highly permeable, which means that items in constant contact with your skin will inevitably end up in your bloodstream and then be dispersed around your whole system. There is absolutely no filtering when chemicals come into contact with your skin, they are absorbed directly into your bloodstream and have absolute access to your vital organs.
Would you drink bleach or shove a plastic bag up your vagina? It seems a silly question of course, but using disposable sanitary pads or tampons are in effect doing a similar amount of damage to your body. Users of tampons are putting themselves at risk of death by contracting Toxic Shock Syndrome: tampons facilitate infection because they enhance bacterial growth. This is especially predominant in users of super absorbent tampons. A logical woman would never knowingly allow a toxic chemical into her body, but my issue is with the unknowing, the deception in relation to feminine hygiene products. We are being kept in the dark, my moon sisters, and this is fundamentally wrong. How can anything which can potentially cause your death be good for your body even in small doses?
An average woman uses up to 17,000 tampons or sanitary pads in her lifetime – that is a hell of a lot of bleach, toxic dioxins and poison in your bloodstream, not to mention the huge amounts of waste ending up in landfill or in the sea and being washed up onto beaches all across the globe. Now, there’s no denying that the use of feminine hygiene products for women is an absolute necessity. We couldn’t exactly free flow our way through our cycles each month now, could we? The world would end up looking like an endless scene from one of Tarantino’s goriest films. So without disposable pads and tampons, what are your alternatives?
The name and shame
The following brands all contain rayon or viscose and toxic dioxins in the fibres, and shamelessly bleach their products. Avoid the following like the plague:
- Body Form
- Boot’s and Superdrug own brand
- All supermarket brand sanitary pads and tampons: Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s, Aldi, Lidl and M&S
What are your alternatives?
The one and only disposable sanitary brand that I can whole-heartedly recommend is Natracare (www.natracare.com). Founded in Britain in 1989, Natracare’s tampons are made from 100% organic cotton and are plastic, rayon and chlorine free. Their liners, ultra, ultra extra and maxi pads are also made from organic cotton, are plastic and chlorine free, and are also compostable. Another brand I’d like to enthusiastically bring to your attention is Cottons. Whilst I do not have first-hand experience with this producer, like Natracare, they are also made from 100% cotton and are available to buy in Boots. Have you tried Cottons before? If so, please share your thoughts below. I’d love to hear your experiences with them.
If you’re open to more life-changing alternatives, then I have a long-term solution: reusable sanitary products. Wow I can hear you crying out from all the way over here, ladies. Yes that’s right, I’m suggesting you use fabric sanitary pads that you wash and reuse over and over again.
I’m suggesting that you invest in a menstrual cup – Mooncup, Diva cup, MeLuna cup, Ruby cup and Yuuki cup to name but a few. Most of all, I’m suggesting that you deal with your own menstrual blood, accept it and stop feeling ashamed of it. We bleed. It isn’t a choice, we do it every month and guess what, you will continue to do so for many years to come.
My next blog post will go into much more detail about reusable sanitary pads and menstrual cups, so watch this bloody space.