***I do realize that both men and women read my blog. However, occasionally, I will blog about topics that may be sensitive to some readers (guys- in this particular post.), may not find helpful or interesting.
So, I’ve decided that whenever such sensitive topics do come up, I will simply display a picture such as, for example, this one:
So you are pre-informed the following topic/post may not be to ones particular taste of interest or approvement.
-Green Your Period?-
Organic Tampons. Yes, they’re out there!
There are two issues at play here: the environmental impact of the feminine product industry and the potential health impacts from conventional products.
First, let’s get environmental.
According to this site, the 73 million menstruating women in North America will throw away 275 to 330 pounds of disposable menstrual products in their lifetime. These tampons, pads, and applicators will take hundreds of years to biodegrade, especially if wrapped in plastic, as the instructions tell us to do.
Beyond the landfill effect of this incredible amount of waste, there is also a high environmental cost during manufacturing.
Trees are a renewable resource, but not as renewable as cotton. And these trees are grown conventionally – i.e. doused with fertilizers and chemicals. To make a tree into a fluffy tampon, manufacturers treat the materials with a wide range of chemicals. To improve appearance and performance, the tampon or pad is also treated with bleaching products, super-absorbent acrylic polymers (SAPs), surfactant-laced gels, and fragrances. There are air, water, and soil quality impacts as a result of this process.
So, clearly, conventional pads and tampons are not good for the environment for several reasons: 1) waste and 2) chemicals used during growing and processing. But is there a health impact?
One chemical of particular concern is dioxin. Dioxin is a bleaching agent commonly used in tampons. Manufacturers and the Environmental Protection Agency say that the amount of dioxin left behind in the final tampon product is very, very small, although it is detectable in major brands (it’s worth noting that dioxin is now in pretty much everything you eat and the air you breathe, too). Why is dioxin a big deal? Another EPA report found that repeated exposure to high levels of dioxin can cause cancer in animals, impact the immune system, increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and reduce fertility. Some studies have even found a link between high levels of dioxin and endometriosis.
The reality is that NO ONE knows the long-term impact of conventional feminine products on women’s health. They can take a guess, but really, no one knows for sure. And since I only have one vagina, I’m going to err on the side of caution.
in which a conventional tampon and an organic tampon were placed in a glass of water for 8 hours to see how much of the fibers were released.
Conventional (Tampax Pearl) was on the left. The fibers were impossible to photograph; however, they were there, in roughly equal amounts for both the conventional and organic brand.
I bet you’re wondering if there’s a better way, right?
Introducing… the Diva Cup. The Diva Cup is a soft, medical-grade silicon menstrual cup. It is latex-free and BPA-free.
The Diva Cup is inserted into your vagina and rests relatively low, so it’s easy to pull out. It creates a vacuum seal, so blood pools into the cup, not out of the sides.
To insert it, you roll it into a little “U” and put it in, just as you would a tampon without an applicator. You can wear the Diva Cup for up to 12 hours. After removing it, you should wash it with a mild soap. At the end of your period, you should boil the Diva Cup to completely sanitize it.
The Diva Cup lasts up to a year (or longer), so it not only saves you money, but it also reduces the environmental impact of your period!
The Diva Cup is very comfortable; once it’s in correctly, you can’t feel it. No leaks whatsoever.
Another great aspect of the Diva Cup (and this is kind of weird) is that it actually lets you look at your period blood. With the Diva Cup, the blood isn’t absorbed into anything, so you can tell exactly how much you’re menstruating and other details, like color and whether you’re menstruating clots.
And, if you prefer pads, there is always the option of reusable pads.
Sounds kind of strange, right? But reusable pads are kind of like cloth diapers. LunaPads is one well-known reusable pad brand.
There is also the Lunette Cup. -Same Concept.
Menstrual cups have a steep learning curve. Menstrual cups are incredibly convenient because you only have to deal with them once every twelve hours, not once every four or five hours. It is SO freeing. It really does make your period nicer. You never have to worry about bringing extra tampons or pads with you, and the cup stays in place through all activities, even running!
There’s also a money-saving factor because you only have to invest in a cup every few years (they are legally required to say you should replace it after a year, but the silicone actually lasts for a long time). I did a little research and the average came to about $40.
The cups are also chemical-free.
Lunette, is the manufacturer of menstrual cups.
They are also available in their original clear color!