What's Really in your Tampons & Pads (and the eco-friendly options you need to know about)
This is a topic a little different than the usual cosmetic & skincare, and one I've been planning to write for a while. This is also one area few women stop to consider when switching over all other products — from household cleaners, to food, make-up and skincare - somehow, we completely forget about the products we use every month, and will continue to use every month, for almost half of our lives.
Considering that your period is something that occurs every month for most women, and the products you use are in contact with the most absorbent area of a woman's body for that entire time, it is pretty scary what most tampons and pads contain.
The materials used in most feminine hygiene products are synthetics like rayon and polyester and non-organic cotton. Cotton is one of the world's most highly sprayed crops, and may also be genetically modified. According the USDA, 94 percent of all the cotton planted in the US is genetically engineered. The cotton and rayon is also then bleached with chlorine, and treated with more synthetic chemicals during processing. The chlorine bleaching creates dioxin, which research suggests can cause endocrine and hormone disruption. The cotton can also contain pesticide residue, which can then be absorbed into the bloodstream.
For so-called hygiene products, they aren't so very clean.
And that is without even pausing to consider the waste disposable feminine hygiene products create each year. The average woman will use up to 16,000 tampons in her lifetime (or equivalent of pads), more if she goes through hormone-replacement therapy - none of which are biodegradable.
Never fear, there are plenty of not only eco-friendly options available, but also health-friendly options that won't expose you to harmful synthetic chemicals, and contributing to landfill once discarded.
TOM Organic Tampons
SHOP: Australia (ships worldwide)
Just like regular tampons, sans the toxic chemicals. TOM Organic offers a range of 100% Certified Organic Cotton pads and tampons. They will biodegrade, making them much more eco-friendly, and the Certified Organic cotton ensures your skin is only coming in contact with natural fibres free from any harmful chemicals.
Juju Menstrual Cup
SHOP: Australia (ships worldwide)
Made from medical-grade silicone, this cup is reusable, meaning you'll not only save thousands of dollars over your lifetime, but also thousands of products going into landfill. These cups are available in two sizes (based on childbearing history) and can be used by women of all ages. They can also be worn for up to 12hrs and don't leak when inserted correctly - even during vigorous exercise.
Tip: There's some great videos on youtube that can help with insertion, use and removal of menstrual cups. The links below are for a different brand, but they can be applied to any cup:
Sarah Tran's Diva Cup Series:
With a look and feel just like regular underwear, ModiBodi revolutionise feminine hygiene.
ModiBodi have a built-in liner, available in three absorbency options (Light and Moderate - and the newly launched Heavy option!), and also with maternity options. You can wear these in conjunction with other products, or wear alone in place of pads or tampons. They not only save landfill, but you as well! Washing is also easy - just rinse, then cold wash and line dry with the rest of the laundry!
I'm actually going to be posting a review on these very shortly - but I will say, I'm very, very impressed. ModiBodi also offer girls sizes, brilliant for making a time that is already awkward for most young girls easier!
Reusable Organic Cloth Pad
There are several brands available, including Juju and Hannah Pad, and they are available in a range of sizes. Featuring organic cotton, with a waterproof lining, reusable pads work just like the disposable options - except you rinse/soak in cold water overnight before washing (in cold water) and leave to line dry, ready for re-use!
Reusable Organic Cloth Pads are not only a much healthier option for you, but will also save money and landfill from disposable products.
There are of course many other brands and options available - just make sure to look for 100% Certified Organic Cotton if you're purchasing disposable products, and natural and/or organic materials if opting for reusable products. If you have any questions or thoughts to share, you can leave them in the comments below or over on Instagram.