Updated: Oct 7, 2019
If you are a woman in your childbearing years, then this post is for you. We have been programmed to choose one of the mainstream pad and tampon brands as soon as puberty hits. But, did we ever think to research? Many times that answer is no. I mean why would we? Everyone uses tampons and pads, right?
Well, yes and no. Yes, there are safer pads and tampons than the ones you will see during the commercial break of your favorite show. However, pads and tampons are no longer our only safe options.
The purpose of this post is to inform you of not only all of your safe options, but also to explain why you should ditch the traditional options that are readily available at your local drugstore.
First of all, you will never see the ingredients on a traditional box of tampons or pads, because it is considered a “medical device.” So, companies can get away with putting toxins in your body—legally!
Have you ever noticed how white and pristine pads and tampons are? That's because they are bleached with chlorine! Chlorine can create toxic dioxin, which has been linked to abnormal tissue growth in the reproductive organs, pelvic inflammatory disease, reduced immune system, endometriosis, and reduced fertility, hormonal and endocrine system disruption, abnormal cell growth through the body, and more!
As if that is not reason enough to ditch them, another scary aspect is the cotton itself. It is not organic, and it could have GMO’s that yes, you are absorbing into your body by using!
Cotton is also considered to be one of the dirtiest crops due to being heavily sprayed with pesticides.
A Report from the Rodale Institute States:
Cotton is considered the world’s dirtiest crop due to its heavy use of pesticides. Aldicarb, cotton’s second best-selling insecticide and most acutely poisonous to humans and wildlife, is still used in 25 countries, including the U.S., where 16 states reported it in their groundwater. Worldwide, cotton covers 2.5% of the cultivated land and cotton growers use 16% of the world’s pesticides.
Eight of the top 10 pesticides most commonly used on U.S. conventionally produced cotton were classified as moderately to highly hazardous by the World Health Organization. The Environmental Justice Foundation elaborates more on the world wide negative effects of pesticide use in cotton.
Cotton (83%) is one of the top four GMO crops produced in the world which includes soy (89%), canola (75%) and corn (61%). GMO cotton production ranks ninth in global crop production.
On an average, 90 percent of U.S. cotton in 2010 was genetically engineered, according to a USDA survey. However 95 to 98% of all cotton is now genetically engineered in nine of the eleven cotton producing states surveyed.
There are many more dangerous ingredients found in conventional pads and tampons including synthetic fibers, petrochemical additives, and dangerous plastics. And we all know plastics have a dangerous and sordid history. They have been linked to heart disease and cancer! And this is all just the tip of the iceberg. There are MANY ramifications from the dangerous chemicals and synthetic materials found in tampons and pads.
And don’t even get me started on toxic shock and tampons!
But wait! There’s also the whole environmental factor. The dangerous plastics in traditional pads and tampons are not biodegradable, so they sit in landfills forever!
So, what are the alternatives? Glad you asked!
Menstrual Cups: these reusable alternatives have actually been around longer than you may realize. The first one was patented in 1937! Menstrual cups are made of medical grade silicone, are BPA free and can be easily sanitized. They are actually a better alternative to tampons and can be left in up to 10 hours. These are my favorite.
Period Panties: many companies are building washable pads right into panties. These are a great, environmentally friendly option.
Menstrual Discs: not the same as a menstrual cup, these are disposable and are placed a little differently.
Reusable Cloth Pads: another great alternative for those who would prefer something outside the body.
Organic Cotton Pads: when non-disposable feminine hygiene products are not your thing, you can use organic cotton pads or tampons which lack the chemicals and bleach used in non-organic brands.
Note: you may have heard of the Menstrual Sponge or Sea Sponge options, however, there are some dangers with them. Chemicals and bacteria have been found in them upon further study. I would research heavily before going this route.
As you can clearly see, there are far too many risks associated with traditional tampons and pads. I hope that you are now better informed with safer options in preparation for your next cycle!