Tag Archives | Lunapads

Genetically Modified Tampons?

There have been very few things in my journey that I’ve recommended to ditch immediately after researching. I normally say save the cleaners, personal care products, processed food, etc. because you’ll always be in a pinch and can take the opportunity to use them up. The one product I would say dispose of right away are traditional tampons. A few days ago, I turned into a sleuth at a local store and snapped a photo of the materials listed on the back of a tampon box. Why? I really thought the materials listed would have changed since I first researched tampons 4 years ago. When I first wrote this article, I was horrified to find out polyester was an ingredient in tampons. I was just starting to remove materials like polyester from being close to my family because one daughter has eczema and natural fibers were less irritating for her skin. The other part of researching polyester was finding out that flame retardant properties are naturally occurring in this material. So if this is true, I still have to ask tampon manufacturers where polyester is used in the make-up of a tampon and why this petroleum based plastic is doing in a menstrual product? Researching the exact materials and chemical components of tampons is difficult because this information is kept proprietary. Unlike personal care products, makeup, etc. tampons adhere to a different criteria of labeling because they are a medical device. Kind of the same thing as sex toys labelled as gag gifts so you don’t need to discover that plastic dildos are made from PVC – the most toxic form of plastic on the market. It’s beyond disgusting and because these products are used in such an intimate part of the body that is highly porous, absorbent and toxins thrive in tissue.

With spending so much of my life thinking about genetically modified food and how to avoid it, I had another really scary thought about traditional tampons. How do we know if they are made from genetically modified cotton – otherwise known as BT cotton? This form of cotton is grown from GM seed and grows resistance to antibiotics. It adds a whole new layer to the cotton industry and for woman that use non-organic tampons. Even conventional cotton is grown using heavy pesticides and we know toxins released into our body from pesticides like to live in fat cells.

The only positive difference I can find 4 years later with tampons is the industry changed their bleaching standards for the rayon (wood pulp) that is mixed with cotton for absorbancy. But the fact is trace amounts of dioxin can still exist from whitening and the heavy processing that occurs to make wood pulp a soft and fluffy form of rayon.  So here we have the 3 active materials used in a tampon: polyester, cotton, and rayon. Nothing but pesticides, petroleum, chemicals, and possibly trace amounts of dioxin or flame retardants. We give our teenagers these products to use because they are straight forward, inexpensive, disposable, and easy for them to manage. We need to think about teenage girls and their long term health. Could tampon use over a 20 year period contribute to infertility problems, inflammatory disease and Endometriosis?

Since writing that first article about tampons four years ago, I really only made one permanent change to my routine. No tampons. If I have to go swimming in the summer with the kids, I buy organic cotton tampons. I always meant to try a Mooncup or Diva Cup but I’m not a huge fan of silicone. For the most part I use reusable pads (Lunapads) and disposable pads for heavy days.

I encourage you to tell 3 people that might still be using traditional tampons. I think teenagers and young adults are the highest users. Use the graphic below to think about the three main ingredients of traditional tampons and their level of toxicity. Make the switch, tell 3 friends, make an impact.

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DIY Pads & Reusable Menstrual Products

A question that bothered me for some time was recently answered by the folks at Lunapads. Have you heard about this company that sells reusable menstrual products?  It might come as a surprise these options even exist. The response to my last article about dioxins in bleached disposable tampons and pads was terrific and I received lots of emails from loyal users of Lunapads and The Divacup saying how much they LOVE these alternatives.  These products are reusable options for menstrual care that helps protect women against nasty chemicals in traditional products (tampons and pads) while also helping the environment.  Isn’t it funny how we try and keep bleached products away from baby’s bottoms by switching to cloth diapers, but don’t stop to think about ourselves and the harm we are causing by using tampons that contain chemicals?  

Lunapads are a reusable option to pads and liners that are simply washed after use.  We know that traditional pads have chemical residues and using 100% cotton or organic cotton against this area of the body is a healthier solution.  For the environment, think about 14 billion pads going into the landfill every year in America.  Saving money is also a solution with Lunapads because you are investing in a product that will last for years.  There is a comparison chart on the Lunapad site that does a great job of showing customers the money they will save over 5 years of using the lunapad liners and pads. 

Now back to the question I wanted answered. I have lots of clothes, towels, etc. that have rips that keep me from wanting to donate them. I can’t bring myself to just throw them in the trash ~ there must be a way to reuse them.  Via twitter, Lunapads answered my question: DIY menstrual pads.  Their blog post includes the pattern and 2 part video (featuring one of the co-founders of Lunapad) and it’s very easy to follow and even a novice person with a sewing machine could sew these. I think it’s pretty cool that the company that created these pads would show women how to make them if they can’t afford to purchase them, or are looking for a way to reuse materials they already own to reuse into pads. They also encourage people that know how to sew to donate homemade pads to two organizations called Pads4Girls and Birth Kit Maxi Pads. The first organization Pads4Girls sends washable pads to school age girls in Africa. The second Birth Kit Maxi Pads includes washable pads in birth kits sent to the woman of rural Uganda.  In this economy in North America isn’t it amazing that anyone can reuse a material from their home, create, and then donate to these wonderful causes with almost no cash spent?  Well done!  That would be a great project for a high school home rec class.  Teaching kids to care about the environment, a social cause, and feel good about starting a project that has such a large impact far away.

The last main product from the Lunapads site that I have to admit startles me every time I see it is called The DivaCup.  There couldn’t be a better name for the purpose of this product! <grin>  It is the replacement for a tampon that is a much healthier option (read Dioxins ~ The Last Place You Want Them for more information on tampons) and comes with nothing to throw away. Like a tampon, it is inserted to collect menstrual flow rather than absorbing it.  The DivaCup is made from soft silicone and is latex-free, BPA-free, plastic-free, and doesn’t contain dye, colors, or additives. For more information click here.  I would have to test The DivaCup personally, but people I know just rave about it and it is a safer alternative to the toxic traditional products that currently rule the market.

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