The average female uses more than 12,000 tampons in her life.
No doubt, if you’re reading this, you’re already a fan of natural and organic living. You look to avoid excessive consumption of pesticides and chemicals, and take a similar approach to your beauty regime. But there’s a little something in the back of your bathroom draw that you may be overlooking – your sanitary products. Organic cotton tampons, for instance, might seem a step too far.
We often forget about our pads and tampons when making the shift to natural living. After all, they are essentials and we don’t put them in our body…. or do we?
Did you know:
1. Tampons are often jammed-packed with chemicals
Unless it is stated otherwise, most tampons and pads, are made from a blend of bleached cotton and/or synthetic products, such as rayon, viscose and plastic – and that is where the trouble lies.
The skin of the vulva is the most sensitive on a woman’s body and easily irritated by polypropylene, perfume and bleach, common ingredients in sanitary ranges.
Most tampons and pads are bleached with chlorine. Chlorine bleaching of the wood pulp produces dioxin. Research suggests that dioxin is an endocrine disrupting chemical that mimics oestrogen and disrupts hormonal function within the body. It has been linked to immune system suppression, breast cancer, reproductive and developmental problems.
26% of the world’s pesticide is sprayed on cotton. These pesticides have been shown to affect the health of wildlife and humans in a devastating way from infertility, hormonal imbalance, even cancer. In third world countries, up to 70% of farm workers are children aged 5-15, many of which are involved in spraying these potentially cancer-causing chemicals onto the cotton that your tampons are made from. This is just so wrong because these children are being exposed at such a young age.
Most pads are made using synthetic material like polypropylene, and use a super absorbent material that is made from petrochemicals and are, therefore, not biodegradable.
Although pads are not in contact with the internal vaginal wall, chemicals can still enter the bloodstream through contact with the external mucosa.
Give me the organics please!
2. Your risk of TSS is amplified
Irritation from sanitary products can make you miserable, but far more serious is Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). If left untreated, it can kill, and the latest figures suggest that as many as five out of 100,000 menstruating women still experience varying degrees of it.
Dr Philip Tierno, professor of microbiology at New York University Medical School, has spent 23 years doing independent research into TSS and its link to tampons. It boils down to the fact that the toxin that causes TSS grows in the sort of environment created inside the body around a tampon. What goes into a tampon and how long it is left in the body are both major contributing factors.
Dr Tierno has come up with a persuasive argument for going organic. As with other organically grown crops, because non-intensive farming methods are used, there are no pesticide residues to contend with. “The bottom line is that you can get TSS with synthetic tampons but not with an all-cotton tampon,” says Dr Tierno.
3. Your Va-jay-jay is super absorbent
If you gave up toxic skincare products because you know that around 60% of what you apply on your skin is absorbed into your blood stream, you would be horrified to learn that the delicate skin in your lady parts is even more absorbent.
4. Plastic is TERRIBLE for the environment
If I can’t make you care about your own health, consider the environmental damage all those plastic pads & tampons are doing (every synthetic material is plastic, i.e. not cotton).
Every year, BILLIONS of plastic laden pads and liners are disposed of, often ending up in landfill sites and even the oceans of our world.
Most of these pads are made from over 90% crude oil plastic which goes on to pollute global environments forever.
You didn’t think I would leave you hanging did you?
My favourite range is by TOM Organic. This brand is brilliant. They offer light, regular and super tampons, a range of pads and panty liners and even nursing pads. What’s more, unlike some organic brands, they’re in cute packages (surprisingly important) and sold in supermarkets. Great product AND accessible. What more could a lady want?
Natracare is another great brand, with products made from certified organic and natural, plant-derived materials that are chemical and additive free, and biodegradable, containing only organic and natural ingredients sourced from sound ecologically managed producers and certified free from animal testing.
Or, if you want to get super eco-conscious, try a diva cup. These little silicone cups get popped up onto your cervix (I haven’t tried one, but I’m told it’s quite easy) and hold all the blood and bits until you take it out and empty it. Sounds really strange but from all the research I’ve done they’re apparently pretty awesome
Check out this article by the Wellness Mama for her run down of eco-friendly alternatives.
Shop naturally has a great range of organic tampons and pads.