As many of you know, I am a huge believer in reducing chemical exposure at every opportunity. This is healthier for our skin, our gut, our brain and our bodies as a whole. It is also healthier spiritually as lower toxicity levels can increase our empathic and intuitive abilities. We often think about chemicals in the environment, food, water, cleaning products, and personal skin and hair products but we don’t usually think about them when it comes to our REALLY personal products. I think that we should. I no longer have the need to use feminine products but I have learned a lot from my youngest daughter Larissa about this topic. This post is written by her.
At a first glance, it seems as though there are only two options for menstrual products: disposable tampons with an applicator and disposable pads/liners. However, there are other options that can both reduce the amount of waste that you produce every period and also reduce the amount of chemicals that you are exposed to.
Sadly, many traditional companies use a number of different chemicals while making their pads and tampons, which are then obviously being placed inside and outside very sensitive areas of your body. Since these products are classified as medical devices by the FDA, companies do not have to disclose the ingredients. Up until recently, I had never considered what was in the products I was using, and just assumed that they were always body safe.
An organization called Women’s Voices for the Earth recently commissioned testing of menstrual products, and the results were shocking. Carbon disulfide, a known reproductive toxin, was present in all brands of tampons that contained rayon. Another carcinogenic chemical, methylene chloride, which is used in paint thinner, was also found. Please click the following article if you would like to learn more.
On Tampax’s website, you can find some more specific, but still vague information on what is inside of their tampons. They acknowledge that they contain polyester (essentially plastic) and that they bleach the cotton and rayon. Furthermore, I personally believe that they do not truly answer the questions they chose to include in their safety Q & A.
After learning this, I was horrified. I immediately decided that I needed to make a change. I have switched over to a menstrual cup made of medical-grade silicone and reusable fabric pads. The cup can be used for 12 hours, compared to tampons which shouldn’t be used for longer than 8 hours. I also use tampons that are made of organic cotton on days in which I do not want to use my menstrual cup. Organic cotton pads and tampons are a great option for vagina-owners who may be more squeamish about handling their own blood, or if someone does not want to clean their products in a public bathroom. I was so excited to see that these products are becoming more mainstream – I have seen menstrual cups and disposable organic cotton pads and tampons being sold at Target.
Although reusable products can be intimidating at the start, I personally believe that it is worth the extra time. If you are willing to take an extra moment to clean out your menstrual cup between uses, and hand wash or rinse your reusable pads before you throw them into the washing machine, you will find that you save money and create less trash. I have also seen reviews explaining that some vagina-owners experience less cramps and overall milder periods when they are using reusable products.