are pads and tampons safe
Welcome back for the 3rd day and the 3rd post for our very first GIVEAWAY!!! If this is your first time here, be sure to read the previous 2 posts to get caught up on our 7 DAY SUPPLY OF CLOTH PANTILINERS GIVEAWAY!! There has already been some GREAT information shared and I am about to share some more 😀 Todays post will look into the benefits of cloth vs. the dangers of plastic!! It’s serious!! For many of us we don’t think twice about inserting a tampon inside of our bodies, or laying an absorbent piece of plastic next to our skin for hours upon hours. The media and advertising companies have done a GREAT job at convincing us that our extreme comfort, and a product’s ability to cause us to forget that we even have a period should be at the top of our lists when choosing products to use during our menstrual cycles…but unlike the commercials that present new prescription drugs that list ALL of the side effects, these companies leave all of the good information out, then they put it in writing on the package that is so small you would need a magnifying glass to read it!!! So, what is it that we are putting into our bodies to minimize our awareness that we even have a cycle??? What makes the dry weave cover to the pads work so well?? These and other pertinent questions are answered below… And when you’re finished reading…and you’re shaking your head at the things you didn’t know (like I was), please DO NOT FORGET to enter the GIVEAWAY today!!! Return and enter EVERY DAY for more chances to win!!! 😀
From a common sense perspective, the choice to wash and reuse cloth menstrual pads is a simple one, akin to using stainless steel water bottles, cloth shopping bags or rechargeable batteries in lieu of their single-use counterparts. In doing so, we reduce the gross amount of resources consumed and solid waste generated.
It is estimated that approximately 20 billion pads, tampons and applicators are being sent to North American landfills annually . On an individual level, each of the approximately 73 million menstruating people in North America will throw away 125 to 150kg of disposable menstrual products in their lifetime . Moreover, these products require hundreds of years to biodegrade, particularly if wrapped in the plastic bag commonly provided for this purpose as part of their packaging.
Lunapads last at least 5 years with recommended use and care, as opposed to 3 or 4 hours in the case of disposables. While individual cases vary, we estimate that a single Lunapad replaces approximately 120 disposable pads or tampons.
In addition to the waste issue, one must also consider resources consumed, as well as manufacturing processes. Lunapads are made with a combination of three types of fabric, which admittedly use their own share of resources to produce. Critics may reasonably point to the use of conventionally-grown cotton as an environmental demerit to cloth pads. Further resources (water, detergent and energy) are also required in order to capitalize on their reusable benefit. That said, Lunapads are very small and do not require special laundering treatment, making the amount of water and soap required for their maintenance to be fairly minimal. Lunapads is further on track with our stated goal of switching to 100% organic or sustainable textiles, and currently use 100% certified organic fabrics for over half of our products.
Disposable pads and tampons are made primarily of bleached kraft pulp or viscose rayon, the origin of which is wood cellulose from trees. Imagine, if you will, what kind of processing is required to make solid wood into the fluffy fibers found in disposable pads – in a nutshell, a lengthy series of powerful chemical baths. The rayon and pulp are further processed with a variety of bleaching agents to render them white (although not more absorbent), and then treated with another host of chemicals to enhance absorbency or add scent.
While growing cotton requires water and fertilizer, it is an easily renewable resource compared to trees, and requires relatively minimal processing to be rendered into a final product.
Dioxin is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals. It is banned in most countries, but not the U.S . While the jury is still out on the direct risk to human health posed by dioxin residue in disposable pads and tampons, its danger to the environment via effluent from factories is well-known. In fairness, progress has been made in recent years to address this issue and oxygen-based bleaches are being increasingly adopted. That said, there has also been an increased adoption of use of Super Absorbent Polymers (SAPs) in the pursuit of “ultra thin” pads, and disposable pads continue to be backed in plastic.
Precisely what all these chemicals and substances are and what their gross environmental impact might be is largely unknown, particularly in the long term. Pad and tampon manufacturers are not required to disclose ingredients of all their products (proprietary information) and many are only listed generically (“fragrance” as an example) on the packaging.
While we are not doctors or scientists, we have had the benefit of almost 30 years of collective experience in talking to women about their health and menstrual products, and can attest to the fact that thousands of women are experiencing allergic reactions to disposable pads and tampons, likely due to contact with the aforementioned chemicals and plastics.
Performance vs Disposables
Waste and health considerations aside, how well do Lunapads and other reusable options actually work? This question is tricky to answer since reusable products are made with such vastly different materials from disposables.
In the case of Lunapads, we readily admit that as soft and absorbent as cotton fleece and flannel are, when it comes to managing heavy menstrual flow over several hours, their performance lags behind that of the ultra thin high performance disposable pads. Ironically, disposable products’ superior performance with respect to absorbency is thanks to all the chemicals and plastics we discussed earlier in reference to environmental impact.
Comfort is another important consideration when it comes to assessing the performance of menstrual products, and in this case we can confidently say that our products are vastly superior to disposable products. Lunapads and Lunapanties are made with 100% cotton and 100% organic cotton, soft, natural and breathable materials that are more akin to clothing.
Knowing performance is important issue for most of us, we acknowledge that reusable pads can’t be expected to perform in the same way as disposables. That said, there are in excess of 100,000 people worldwide using Lunapads who would never switch back, so clearly the chore of washing them is worth the bother. Ask yourself if you would happily return to throwing away used bottles and newspapers rather than taking the time to recycle them for a similar perspective. Many also comment on the convenience of being freed from having to repeatedly buy disposable supplies, particularly in unanticipated situations.
With respect to the DivaCup and tampons, the difference is even more marked. Have you ever felt excessively “dried out” by using tampons, especially towards the end of your period? This is because tampons don’t just absorb your menstrual flow, they also absorb your natural vaginal moisture, which can be uncomfortable. The DivaCup is widely celebrated among customers for being more comfortable than tampons, thanks to its non-absorbent functionality that results in reduced dryness.
So, there you have it. Several more reasons have been shared about why these are wonderful choices for all of us to make. There are additional things available that we will go over before this GIVEAWAY is over, don’t worry :D! But that is all for now. PLEASE SO NOT FORGET to enter the GIVEAWAY!!! It was created with you in mind! Oh! And Tell A FRIEND 😀