Tampons, pads, wipes, and other personal cleaning products may contain unregulated toxic chemicals that can result in serious health problems.
The undisclosed chemicals commonly used in these products include carcinogens, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors, and allergens. Some products made of cotton like tampons and pads may even contain pesticide residue and dioxin from chlorine bleach. What makes this even more alarming is that vaginal tissue is extremely absorbent compared to other parts of the body. Chemicals absorbed through the vagina are easily and effectively distributed throughout the body, without being metabolized.
A full report on the dangers of toxic feminine hygiene products recently released by Women’s Voices for the Earth is available on womensvoices.org.
Healthier and eco-friendly alternatives are available, such as tampons and pads produced without synthetics, irritants, and excessive packaging. Products made with organic cotton are available for purchase at co-ops and larger retailers such as Whole Foods. These products are biodegradable, but even so, these disposable products are not the best choice for women looking to minimize their impact on the Earth. According to research conducted for the Tampon Safety and Research Act of 1997, a woman can use up to 11,400 tampons in her lifetime. Reusable options like washable pads and menstrual cups are both healthy and eco-friendly.
I am surprised how few women have tried reusable menstrual cups. Not only are they free from toxins, they will save you so much money over the years. Think about it: You never have to buy another package of pads or box of tampons again.
Oh, and menstrual cups are more comfortable than tampons (it’s true!) and they are safe to wear for long periods of time, unlike tampons which can cause toxic shock syndrome. Because you can wear them for up to 12 hours at a time, you will probably never have to worry about it while in a public restroom. That means you can ditch the emergency stash of tampons and pads in your desk, book bags, glove boxes, and purses. There are many different sizes and brands available, and plenty of information out there on how to pick the best one for you. This website is an amazing resource that will answer any question you have about making the switch. It took me two tries to find the perfect one for me, but I will never go back to tampons and pads.
Young woman holding menstrual pad and tampon in her hands image from BigStock.
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